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 New trends found in Iraqi VP Hashemi's case that will avoid death sentence

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New trends found in Iraqi VP Hashemi's case that will avoid death sentence  5.6.2012  

Iraq's fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi who is on trial in absentia. He accused of running a death squad, said that he has no faith in the Iraqi justice system.
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June 5, 2012

BAGHDAD,— Sources close to Iraq's Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said a new trend was discovered in Hashemi's case that will avoid a death sentence being passed against him in the near future.

An anonymous source close to the VP said: "Hashemi is now looking for the confession of his son-in-law Ahmed Qahtan because it is the only way to keep himself away from the death penalty, especially because the charges are currently against Qahtan.

"The confessions of some of the witnesses and the protection elements are not enough to criminalize Hashemi and they said things that anyone can talk about."

In response to these statements, the chief of Hashemi's defense committee Muayyid al-Izzi said: "The evidence suggests the involvement of Qahtan in terms of the issuance of orders, and we have asked him to come to court to testify because he has many secrets that may solve the puzzles, but he did not respond."

With regard to the legal position and the evidence presented at the trial, Izzi added: "There is no evidence that our client committed any crime. The orders are issued from Qahtan and the latter will be convicted, while Hashemi in the worst cases, will be considered an instigator for the participation in this act and it is not punishable by Iraqi law."

Izzi demanded at the recent court session held late last month to hear the testimony of President Jalal Talabani and see if he had any information about the involvement of the protection of his deputy as well as an evaluation of the security file and Hashemi personally. But the court confirmed the lack of need for this.

With regard to the reason behind not assigning a lawyer to Ahmed Qahtan to defend him, although he is Hashemi's son-in-law, Izzi said: "Hashemi may use this for a legal maneuver because the legal evidence points to the involvement of his brother-in-law only in the issues.

"The vice president rules out the commitment of his son-in-law for the crimes against him, but this does not mean that he is innocent. All possibilities are open, including that he issued personal orders to the protection elements and claimed they were issued from Hashemi."

On the legal developments in Hashemi's case, Izzi said: "The general rule says that everything is expected in the court and the Iraqi judiciary, on the condition of providing witnesses, arguments, data and irrefutable evidence. This could change the entire course of the case, although some witnesses confirmed that they receive orders directly from Hashemi to carry out assassinations and armed attacks.

"The incitement to murder is a form of crime and conspiracy and this happened with the toppled President Hosni Mubarak who was accused of inciting the killing of demonstrators. He was sentenced to life imprisonment."

Hashemi, who is currently in Ankara, is accused of terrorism and running death squads. It is alleged that the VP and his bodyguards killed and bombed members of the security forces and some state employees.

By Afrah Shawqi

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