Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraq's fugitive VP, charged with killing six judges

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi was charged with killing six judges and a series of other crimes on April 30, 2012. Hashemi, who has sought refuge in the Kurdish north of Iraq is currently in Istanbul, Turkey and will not appear at his trial.</p>

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi was charged with killing six judges and a series of other crimes on April 30, 2012. Hashemi, who has sought refuge in the Kurdish north of Iraq is currently in Istanbul, Turkey and will not appear at his trial.

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi has been charged with several murders, including the killings of six judges, according to the BBC.

Citing court officials in Baghdad, the BBC said Hashemi and some of his bodyguards were accused of a series of killings.

Hashemi, the most senior level Sunni in Shia-dominated Iraq, fled Baghdad in December 2011, after the allegations of death squads surfaced.

Hashemi is not expected to be present at his trial, and the BBC claimed he had taken refuge in the Kurdish north of Iraq, and Reuters reported that he is currently in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar, a spokesman for the judiciary council, said in a statement, "There are many crimes that Hashemi and his guards are accused of and there were confessions obtained, including on the assassinations of six judges, mostly from Baghdad," according to Reuters.

Birqdar said that Hashemi and his bodyguards faced 150 charges, saying that the number might increase, but did not provide a breakdown of how many charges Hashemi in particular faced, according to AFP.

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The trial will begin on Thursday, said Birqdar, adding that it would deal with the "assassination of the general director in the national security ministry, an officer in the interior ministry and a lawyer," according to AFP.

Hashemi has claimed that the charges are politically-motivated.

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