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 Iraqi fugitive Sunni VP Tareq al-Hashemi guarded by Turkish police 

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Iraqi fugitive Sunni VP Tareq al-Hashemi guarded by Turkish police  18.4.2012  

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi (L) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AA See Related Links
April 18, 2012

ISTANBUL,— The Turkish government has tasked a police unit with protecting fugitive Iraqi vice-president Tareq al-Hashemi and his family visiting the country, Iranian Press TV reports.

Hashemi, who is accused of running a death squad in Iraq, arrived in Turkey on April 10 after visiting Qatar and Saudi Arabia, his third stop in what he has called an “official visit’’ to regional countries.

He has met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and discussed the developments in Iraq. Hashemi has also asked for Ankara’s political support.

According to reports coming from inside Turkey, a team of 17 Turkish policemen and five cars are guarding Hashemi after he held talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Hashemi says he asked for Ankara's protection since he has received death threats.

The Turkish government has also settled Hashemi, his family, and those accompanying him in two houses in Istanbul due to security concerns instead of taking them to a hotel.

Meanwhile, Jordan has not responded to Hashemi’s request for asylum.

According to a statement from Hashemi's office, he will return to Iraq's Kurdistan region, where he had been holed up since terrorism charges were brought against him last December.

The Iraqi government has repeatedly called on other countries not to receive Hashemi, especially under the title of vice president."

Baghdad has persistently demanded that the Kurdistan regional government hand over Hashemi to face justice for at least 150 charges of committing acts of terror in the country, but the region has so far refused to oblige.

Hashemi has been accused of involvement in bomb attacks against Iraqi government and security officials over the past years and on December 19, 2011,www.ekurd.net an investigative committee within the Iraqi Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant for Hashemi after three of his bodyguards confessed to taking orders from him to carry out the terrorist attacks. Hashemi later fled to the Kurdistan region.

Hashemi has denied the charges against him, demanding a trial in Kurdistan region, which has no jurisdiction over the regions where Hashemi has allegedly committed his terrorist acts. Iraq’s judiciary has rejected his request.

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