Sept. 10 - Iraqis in Baghdad fear court's decision to sentence ex-VP Tareq al-Hashemi to death in absentia could spark further violence. Jessica Gray reports.
Iraq's former Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi condemns his country's judiciary. He denounces the death sentence handed down to him in absentia by an Iraqi court over murder charges, calling the move politically motivated (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRAQ'S FUGITIVE VICE PRESIDENT TAREQ HASHEMI SAYING: "Yesterday Prime Minister Maliki and his politicized judiciary concluded the final phase of the theatrical campaign against me using a kangaroo court set up for this purpose." He affirmed his innocence and added that Iraqis must band together to prevent new sectarian violence prompted by the court's trumped up charges. But Iraqis fear further violence is likely a day after a series of bombs ripped through the country, killing at least 100 people. This Baghdad resident says he worries that Iraqi courts are charging officials, fuelled by political or sectarian motivations. Hashemi is accused of murdering a female lawyer and security official along with his son in law. The ex-vice president is a long time critic of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who he accused of controlling the judiciary and issuing crackdowns on Sunni Muslim opponents. Hashemi fled the country in December when authorities issued an arrest warrant and is unlikely to return to Iraq to face the charges.