Lawyers for Fugitive Iraq VP Withdraw from Caseإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Lawyers for Iraq's fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, a Sunni who is accused of running a death squad, on Sunday withdrew from the case, on the grounds their appeals had been rejected.
The vice president, last known to be in Turkey, is the subject of an Interpol red notice calling for his arrest but says he fears for his life in Baghdad. He is being tried in absentia on charges he says are politically motivated.
"We decided to withdraw from the case as the appeals commission did not review the appeals we presented to it," Muayad al-Izzi, the head of Hashemi's defense team, told reporters.
The Central Criminal Court of Iraq, which held the fourth hearing on the case on Sunday, responded by appointing two new lawyers to replace those who withdrew.
Hashemi had said in a May 17 statement on his website that he was considering withdrawing his lawyers due to "legal violations."
These included the trial not being transferred to another venue and Hashemi's lawyers not being permitted to meet with accused members of his staff or witnesses individually, the statement said.
Hashemi, one of Iraq's top Sunni Arab officials, was accused in December of running a death squad and, along with his staff and bodyguards, faces around 150 charges.
The accusations were first leveled in December after U.S. troops completed their withdrawal, during a political crisis in which his bloc boycotted cabinet and parliament, accusing Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of monopolizing power.
After the initial charges were filed, the vice president fled to the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, whose authorities declined to hand him over to the central government.
They then allowed him to leave on a tour of the region that has taken him to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and now Turkey. Ankara has said it will not extradite him to Iraq.