N Iraq’s shelter to Hashemi may end

N Iraq’s shelter to Hashemi may end

N Iraq’s shelter to Hashemi may end

Iraqi Kurd leader Barzani (L) and Iraqi President Talabani are seen in this photo. An official of the Talabani tribe calls for to be handed over al-Hashemi to Baghdad. AFP photo

President Jalal Talabani’s tribe has called for Iraq’s fugitive vice president to be handed over to the Baghdad government to face trial, a member of the tribe said Feb. 4.

Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, has been charged with running a death squad and has been sheltering in Talabani’s native autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq since December. The region’s government has so far declined to turn him over.

On Feb. 3, 120 members of the Talabani tribe met in Sulaimaniyah province and “agreed to call on officials in Baghdad and autonomous Kurdish region to hand al-Hashemi over to justice,” Abdul Aziz Abdul Wahid Talabani told journalists by telephone, Agence France-Presse reported.

The tribal spokesman said a delegation from the tribe met with al-Hashemi’s bodyguards who had confessed to killing his brother, Judge Najim Talabani, and recounted how they carried out the 2010 assassination. “We demand that al-Hashemi be handed over to the court, and the tribe is now convinced that al-Hashemi’s bodyguards were involved in the assassination of the judge,” said Abdul Aziz Talabani. The Interior Ministry said 16 of al-Hashemi’s guards had been arrested following confessions from some of their colleagues and that they had also confessed after being detained. The accusations against the vice president come amid a wider row between the secular, Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, of which al-Hashemi is a member, and the Shiite-led government. Iraqiya began a boycott of Parliament in December and returned to Parliament Jan. 31. While the political crisis continues in Iraq, authorities said gunmen killed an Interior Ministry official in a drive-by shooting in central Baghdad yesterday. Police said the official was driving through the Iraqi capital when the gunmen pulled up alongside his vehicle and shot him, according to the Associated Press.

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