Iraq's Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi, pictured here on a visit to Japan in March 2007.
Credit: Kazuhiro Nogi

An Iraq court sentenced Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi to hang today for his role in forming a death squad.

The court found the Sunni politician – who fled to Turkey earlier this year – and his son-in-law guilty of two murders, Reuters reported.

“The high criminal court issued a death sentence by hanging against Tariq al-Hashemi after he was convicted,” a representative of the Iraqi judiciary, Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar, told Reuters.

The conviction – which came in abesentia – was for the deaths of a lawyer and a security official.

The judge acquitted al-Hashemi and his son-in-law in a third case due to lack of evidence, The Associated Press reported.

His representatives expected al-Hashemi to release a statement later today.

More from GlobalPost: Al-Hashemi goes on trial for murder in absentia

Al-Hashemi’s trial began in December and featured 10 hearings as well as evidence from his son-in-law, former bodyguards and relatives of the victims, the AP said.

Iraq’s Shiite government alleges Hashemi ordered or took part somehow in 150 bombings beginning in 2005.

Police raids found weapons in his house.

Sunnis accuse the Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of provoking tensions and call him a dictator, BBC said.

Al-Hashemi said the government must have coerced his bodyguards into testifying against him.

The death sentence is only going to fuel sectarian tension in Iraq between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, who are struggling to share power in the government.

Today in Iraq, 58 people died in a string of violent attacks, including from a bombing outside the French consulate in Nassiriya.

More from GlobalPost: Interpol issues ‘Red Notice’ for al-Hashemi

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