Baghdad asks Kurds to hand over Vice President

Published January 8th, 2012 - 02:31 GMT

The Iraqi government has formally asked authorities in the semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region to hand over Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and 12 of his aides to face charges of running death squads, an Iraqi official said on Sunday. "We sent an official request a day ago to the Interior Ministry and (security forces) of the Kurdistan region asking them to hand over al-Hashemi with twelve other suspects to judicial authorities in Baghdad," Lieutenant-General Hussein Kamal, Iraq's deputy interior minister, told Reuters.

Hashemi fled to the north after the central government sought his arrest. He might try to cross into Turkey. According to him, he will not get a fair trial in Baghdad.

Kamal stressed the central government in Baghdad does not have the right to send security forces to detain Hashemi in Kurdistan, which has its own military and police.

Earlier, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said that he would travel to Baghdad before the end of this week to hold meetings with the leaders of the various political parties in order to resolve the current crisis gripping the country. 

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