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Iraqi VP says charges against him politically motivated

(Xinhua)

09:55, February 21, 2012

BAGHDAD, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Vice President Tariq al- Hashimi on Monday criticized charges against him of orchestrating death squads as politically motivated.

"Day after day the political motivation behind accusing Hashimi of criminal acts have become clear for Iraqis," Hashimi said in a speech broadcast by several Iraqi channels from northern Iraq.

"The Iraqi judiciary has slipped into participating in defaming Hashimi and his guards, although the judges of the Supreme Judicial Council (Iraq's top judicial body) realize that such charges are still in the stage of initial investigation," Hashimi said in the half-hour speech from the city of Arbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

"The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) is participating today in targeting Hashimi and his bodyguards and has abandoned its neutrality and professionalism in order to satisfy influential people," Hashimi said.

On Thursday, the SJC spokesman Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar said at a news conference in Baghdad that the SJC accused Hashimi and his bodyguards of carrying out 150 attacks against security forces and civilians between 2005 and 2011.

Charges filed by the SJC's nine-judge committee responsible for investigating Hashimi's case include allegations that Hashimi's bodyguards were behind the Dec. 22 suicide car bomb attack on the offices of Iraq's Integrity Commission, which left 23 people dead and 46 wounded, Birqdar said.

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