Last updated: 11 May, 2012

Iraq’s fugitive VP has medical checks in Turkey

Iraq’s Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who faces trial in absentia in Baghdad on charges of running a death squad, has undergone “routine” medical checks in Turkey, his office said on Friday.

Hashemi, who is the subject of a Red Notice issued by the international police agency Interpol, travelled from Istanbul to Ankara on Thursday for treatment at a military hospital, Turkey’s private NTV television said.

The Turkish foreign ministry confirmed the fugitive official was in Ankara but declined to comment on the reason for the visit.

“Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi had routine medical checks and results were normal,” a statement posted on his official website said. It said he was in contact with Iraqi political leaders but gave no further details on the checks.

Hashemi, one of Iraq’s top Sunni Arab officials who has been in Turkey since April 9, faces prosecution in Baghdad at a trial that is due to begin on May 15 after two delays.

Hashemi and his bodyguards face around 150 charges, including the killing of six judges and other senior officials, according to an Iraqi judicial spokesman.

He has challenged the legitimacy of the trial and said his life is at risk in Baghdad.

Turkey said it would not extradite Hashemi back to Baghdad for prosecution. “We will not extradite someone whom we have supported since the very beginning,” its deputy prime minister, Bekir Bozdag, said on Wednesday.