Iraqis rally against Turkey over fugitive vice president

Photo: Iraqis rally against Turkey over fugitive vice president / Arab World

Hundreds of Iraqis Saturday protested in the southern city of Basra, demanding Turkey to hand over fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi who faces charges of terrorism at home, DPA reported.

The protesters gathered outside the Turkish consulate, chanting slogans against the Turkish government and accusing it of fomenting strife in Iraq.

Al-Hashemi, who is staying in Turkey, is charged with running a death squad and alleged involvement in the assassination of two security officials and a lawyer.

Being Iraq's most senior Sunni Muslim official, al-Hashemi has denied the charges against him, calling it a political ploy on the part of the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Turkey has confirmed al-Hashemi's presence on its soil and said it would not extradite him.

Interpol issued earlier this month a so-called Red Notice for al-Hashemi, saying it "will significantly restrict his ability to travel and cross international borders."

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