Baghdad to Doha: back off from harbouring VP
BAGHDAD - Iraq on Monday said Qatar's welcoming of Baghdad's fugitive Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi was "unacceptable" and called on Doha to hand him over.
"The state of Qatar receiving a wanted person is an unacceptable act and Qatar should back off from this stance, and return him to Iraq," Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani told a news conference in Baghdad.
Shahristani added that the autonomous Kurdistan region, where Hashemi had been holed up since charges were issued against him in December, had committed a "clear challenge to law and justice" by allowing him to leave the country.
Hashemi arrived on Sunday in Doha, where he was welcomed by Qatari Minister of State Sheikh Hamad bin Nasser bin Jassem al-Thani, according to Qatari state news agency QNA.
He "left the Kurdistan region of Iraq this morning, Sunday, going to Doha," accepting an invitation he had previously received, a statement from Hashemi's office said.
Hashemi is wanted on charges of running a death squad, allegations he says are politically-motivated.
The accusations were levelled against him the day after US forces withdrew from Iraq in December 2011, and sparked a festering political row.