Lawyers of fugitive Iraqi VP Tariq al-Hashemi quit trial

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Iraq
Monday, 21 May 2012

tariq hashmiawyers of fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi have left his trial in absentia in the capital, Baghdad, over a court refusal to accept their evidence.
“We decided to withdraw from the case as the appeals commission did not review the appeals we presented to

it,” said Muayad al-Izzi, the head of the defense team, on Sunday, referring to attempts to have the case heard in a special tribunal rather than the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI).

The CCCI held the fourth hearing on the case of Hashemi on Sunday and appointed two new lawyers to replace those who withdrew.

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 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.

Interpol also issued an international Red Notice alert on May 8 for the arrest of Hashemi “on suspicion of guiding and financing terrorist attacks.”

Hashemi said in a statement issued on his website on May 17 that he was considering the withdrawal of his lawyers from the case due to “legal violations” including a refusal to transfer his trial to another court and his lawyers not being permitted to meet with the accused members of his staff or witnesses individually.

During the court session on Sunday, witnesses testified that they had been offered money and pressured by Hashemi in return for targeting Iraqi policemen and soldiers.

“Hashemi presented me with financial support in return for carrying out armed operations,” said Khidhr Ibrahim al-Mashhadani, one of the witnesses, who claimed he had been paid a salary of $12,500 per month for the operations that “targeted only the security forces.”

Raad Ismail Ibrahim al-Janabi, another witness identified as one of the bodyguards of Hashemi, said the fugitive vice president told him to “carry out special operations” and that Iraq “needs you, you will carry out military duties against insurgents, and if you do not implement the orders, there will be penalties.”

The lawyers on Sunday also tried to submit Hashemi’s travel records as evidence he could not have coordinated the attacks, because he was not in Iraq at the times witnesses claimed, but the judge in the case said Hashemi would still have been able to coordinate the attacks from overseas.

The next hearing for the case of Hashemi is scheduled to be held on May 31.

The fugitive Iraqi vice president is currently in Turkey

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