Interpol issues 'red notice' for fugitive Iraq VP

In this Dec. 23, 2011 file photo, Iraq's Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi speaks during an interview with the Associated Press near Sulaimaniyah. (Photo: AP)

May 08, 2012, Tuesday/ 11:43:00

Interpol has issued a so-called "red notice" for Iraq's fugitive Sunni vice president who is currently in Turkey.

The Lyon, France-based organization says Tuesday's move came at the request of the government in Baghdad.

Iraq has charged Tariq al-Hashemi with terrorism and has accused him of running death squads that targeted government officials, security forces and Shiite pilgrims. He is one of the nation's highest-ranking Sunni politicians and is being tried in absentia in Baghdad.

Al-Hashemi has vowed to not return to face what he calls politically motivated charges.

Hashemi arrived in Turkey in April to secure Ankara's help against Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's policy of excluding Sunni politicians from power. He had asked for protection from Turkey due to the death threats he had received.

He was taken under special protection after he met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. Iraq has not yet formally requested that Turkey hand over Hashemi.

Hashemi fled Baghdad in December when the Iraqi government issued an arrest warrant for him, accusing him of running death squads that targeted Shiite pilgrims, government officials and security forces. He denies the charges, which he says are “politically motivated.”

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