Iraq's fugitive VP Hashemi urges Iraqis to oppose Maliki

Reuters News

9/9/2012 7:30:32 AM - Reuters News

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi on Monday urged Iraqis to oppose Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who he accused of stoking sectarian tensions, a day after a Baghdad court sentenced him to death in absentia.

Hashemi, a senior Sunni politician, fled Iraq earlier this year after authorities sought his arrest on charges he ran a deathsquad. He accused Maliki of a politicial witch-hunt and refused to stand trial in a court he said was biased.

"My people, don't give Maliki and those who stand behind him the chance," Hashemi told reporters in Turkey. "They want to make this a sectarian strife. Oppose his conspiracies and provocation calmly... People should not stay silent on the unprecedented oppression in Iraq."

(Reporting by Aseel Kami; writing by Patrick Markey)