Turkey refuses to hand over Iraq′s ex vice president | News | DW | 11.09.2012
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Turkey refuses to hand over Iraq's ex vice president

Turkey has made it very clear it will not deport Iraq's former vice president back to the country. The Iraqi politician in question has been sentenced to death by Iraqi officials for murder, something he flatly denies.

Turkey said on Tuesday that it will not extradite Iraq's fugitive vice president Tareq al-Hashemi, who has a conviction for murder and a subsequent death sentence from an Iraqi court hanging over him.

"I'll say it very clearly. We will host Hashemi in our country as long as he wants to remain in Turkey. We will not hand him over," Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced at a news conference in Ankara.

An Iraqi court on Sunday handed out a death sentence in absentia to al-Hashemi for murdering a lawyer and a brigadier general, when he allegedly headed a death squad in the country.

Al-Hashemi spoke up on Monday against the ruling, blasting it as "the final phase of the theatrical campaign" spearheaded by his rival, Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and "his politicized judiciary."

The former Iraqi politician has said that he will not return to Iraq until his safety and a fair trial can be guaranteed.

Al-Hashemi, a Sunni Arab, was first formally accused of running the death squad by the Iraq's Shiite led government in December, after US troops left Iraq. The statesman, in response, fled to Iraq's Kurdistan region, and then travelled to Turkey, via Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

sej/ccp (AFP, Reuters)