Qatar says no to Iraq on Hashemi handover
Iraq’s fugitive Sunni Vice President al-Hashemi, who is visiting Qatar, denies the Maliki government’s allegations against him. He says the allegations are politically motivated. AP photoThe Gulf state of Qatar has rejected Baghdad’s demand to hand over Iraq’s fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Khaled al-Attiyah said yesterday.
“Diplomatic norms and the post of Hashemi prevent Qatar from doing such a thing,” he said when asked about Baghdad’s request for Doha to send the Sunni leader back to Iraq, where he is accused of running a death squad. Hashemi, who arrived in Qatar on April 1 reportedly for an official visit, had been in autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq since December. “Mr. Hashemi came in his capacity as a vice president, and he continues to occupy this post, and has not been sentenced, or stripped of his title,” Attiyah told Agence France-Presse.
Iraq’s Shiite-led government has slammed Doha’s welcoming of Hashemi as “unacceptable.” It also criticized Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) decision to let him leave the country as a “clear challenge to law and justice.” “The state of Qatar receiving a wanted person is an unacceptable act and Qatar should back off from this stance, and return him to Iraq,” Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said in Baghdad on April 2. Hashemi, who denies the allegations against him and says they are politically motivated, dismissed Iraq’s demand.