Bodyguard accuses al-Hashemi in trial
BAGHDAD - The Associated Press
Iraqi fugitive Vice President al-Hashemi denies the bodyguards’ confessions, saying his bodyguards were tortured into making the statements. REUTERS photoA bodyguard for Iraq’s fugitive vice president testified yesterday that he was paid $3,000 to assassinate a government security official in one of hundreds of death squad killings that authorities link to one of the nation’s highest-ranking Sunni leaders.
The testimony came on the first day of the Iraqi government’s terror trial against Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who was not in court. Bodyguard Ahmed al-Jubouri testified that he gunned down the security official, identified as Ibrahim Saleh Mahdi, in November 2011 on al-Hashemi’s orders. Al-Jubouri said Mahdi’s wife also was killed in the drive-by shooting on a Baghdad highway. “The next day, al-Hashemi received me (in his office) and rewarded the team with a sum of $3,000,” al-Jubouri told a three-judge panel at Baghdad’s criminal court. “At the end of the meeting, the vice president said to me, ‘God bless you.’”
Al-Jubouri said the death was ordered because Mahdi had become “a source of annoyance” to al-Hashemi. Al-Hashemi currently is in Turkey. He has denied the confessions, saying his bodyguards were tortured into making the statements.