World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraq's fugitive Sunni vice-president, Tariq al-Hashemi, on Monday slammed a ruling by an Iraqi court which sentenced him to death on the charges of plotting terror attacks in Iraq.
Hashemi, a Sunni, fled the country earlier this year after authorities accused him of running a death squad. His case triggered a crisis in the power-sharing government among Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish political blocs.
Vice president said Turkey believed death sentence on him was political and he would keep staying in Turkey.
Hashemi and his son-in-law were both found guilty of two murders. Under Iraqi law, a conviction is followed immediately by sentencing. The death sentence can be appealed.
Hashemi, who is in Turkey, has accused Maliki of conducting a political witch-hunt against Sunni opponents, but the government said it was a judicial case.
"My people, don't give Maliki and those who stand behind him the chance," Hashemi told reporters in Turkey. "They want to make this a sectarian strife. Oppose his conspiracies and provocation calmly... People should not stay silent on the unprecedented oppression in Iraq."
"Yesterday Prime Minister Maliki and his ... judicary concluded the final phase of the theatrical campaign against me using a kangaroo court set up for this purpose. It was really a shambles," Hashemi told a news conference in Ankara.
"Therefore, while reconfirming my and my guards' absolute innocence, I totally reject and will never recognise the unfair, the unjust, the politically motivated verdict."
Sunni politicians say Maliki is failing to live up to agreements to share government power among the parties.