Interpol issues 'Red Notice' for Iraqi VP Tariq al-Hashemi


An arrest warrant was issued for Iraq's vice president, Tareq al-Hashemi, following accusations of "terrorism."


Ali al-Saadi

Interpol responded to the Iraqi government's request for help on Tuesday by issuing a "Red Notice" for fugitive Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, according to the AFP.

The call for his arrest issued by the international police organization said he was wanted on suspicion of "guiding and financing terrorist attacks," according to the AFP.

According to the BBC, a Red Notice is a request for local police to detain a wanted person with the possibility of an extradition. Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said the alert would "significantly restrict [Hashemi's] ability to travel and cross international borders," according to the BBC.

The move draws Interpol into the bitter political situation where the Shiite-led government has accused Hashemi of running death squads and murdering six judges during the Iraqi insurgency, said Reuters.

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Hashemi has claimed the charges are politically motivated and is being tried in absentia in Baghdad while he seeks refuge in Turkey. He escaped from Baghdad in December 2011, when the charges were first brought forward.

The case is especially volatile, as it pitted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, against Hashemi, who is the highest level Sunni in the Iraqi government, threatening to plunge Iraq into sectarian violence once more, according to The New York Times.

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In a statement, Hashemi said, "My defense lawyer will present an appeal to Interpol in the next few days." He added, "I won't submit to pressure and blackmail," according to Reuters.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a news conference on Tuesday that his government will continue to support Hashemi in the future, according to the BBC.

The case has also unsettled relations between Iraq and Turkey.

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