File photo of an Iraqi newspaper with the picture of fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi
A member of the Free Iraqiya party says the Iraqi judiciary has been “neutral” in the case of fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, rejecting allegations that the court has been “politicized” in the issue.
Alia Nsayef said on Thursday that the judiciary is “very neutral and the procedures are correct, legally and constitutionally.”
Hashemi is accused of being involved in bomb attacks against the government and security officials over the past years, including a November 2011 car bombing in the capital Baghdad that apparently targeted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The fugitive vice president and his bodyguards also face accusations of killing six judges.
On December 19, 2011, an investigative committee within the Iraqi Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant for Hashemi after three of his bodyguards confessed to having taken orders from him to carry out the terrorist attacks.
Hashemi fled to the Kurdistan Region after the arrest warrant was issued, and he is currently in Turkey.
“Many lawmakers were briefed on the investigations and they noticed through the confessions… and the evidence of the crimes and the assassinations that the crimes are real,” Nsayef said.
Meanwhile, Hamed al-Mutlak, a senior member of the Iraqiya party, where Hashemi is a leader, said on Wednesday, “All evidence during the past months indicates that the judiciary was not successful in many things, and the effect on it of politicization is clear.”
On May 8, Interpol also issued an international Red Notice alert for the arrest of Hashemi “on suspicion of guiding and financing terrorist attacks.”
Spokesperson for Iraq’s Supreme Judiciary Council Abdelsattar Bayraqdar said on Thursday that the trial of Hashemi is “public and if we had anything to hide, we would do it in a different way.”
“The judiciary in Iraq is like any judiciary in the world. It is accused of being politicized by the accused people or those who do not like the sentences.”
The trial in absentia of Hashemi began in May and its next hearing is scheduled to be held on July 8.