10 Sep 2012

Iraqi vice-president sentenced to death

5:34 am on 10 September 2012

A court in Iraq has sentenced Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi to death in absentia after a court found him guilty of running death squads.

Hashemi was the most senior Sunni Muslim in the government, which is predominantly Shia, until he was charged last December and fled to Turkey.

Prosecutors said Hashemi was involved in 150 killings.

The charges against him sparked a political crisis in Iraq. He has denied the accusations, saying he's the victim of a political vendetta.

A warrant for Hashemi's arrest was issued on 19 December 2011, the day after the last US troops left the country.

On Sunday, a court found Hashemi and his son-in-law guilty of two murders and sentenced him to death by hanging. A third charge was dismissed for lack of evidence.