(BAGHDAD) — Iraq’s fugitive vice president is making explosive claims that two of his bodyguards were tortured to death by government security forces in late March, allegedly making it three that have been killed during the past month.
These latest accusations from Tariq al-Hashemi, the highest ranking Sunni in Iraq, were steadfastly denied by Baghdad on Wednesday, which has sought to arrest him since last December for allegedly financing death squads.
Al-Hashemi, who has managed to elude capture for four months by spending most of his time in Iraq’s semiautonomous northern Kurdish region, is currently in Turkey.
Meanwhile, his website posted a claim that two bodyguards, identified only as AH and AA, died at the hands of security forces through “severe torture” while being interrogated shortly before the Arab League summit that took place in Baghdad on March 26.
Al-Hashemi has also alleged that bodyguard Amir Sarbut Zaidan al-Batawi died in detention on March 15 although Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said his death was caused by kidney failure.
All three guards were previously shown on Iraqi state TV confessing to bombing Shiite convoys at al-Hashemi’s direction.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN