BAGHDAD - The trial of Iraq's fugitive vice-president, Tareq al-Hashemi, accused of running death squads, was postponed on Thursday after defense lawyers argued it should be held in a special court.

The leading Sunni Muslim politician fled Baghdad in December when the Shi'ite-led government issued a warrant for his arrest. He denies all charges and says they are politically motivated.

Now in Istanbul, he has refused to stand trial in Baghdad, saying Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki controls the courts.

Hashemi's son-in-law, Ahmed Ahmed Kahtan, and 73 of his bodyguards have also been charged. No defendant was in court.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger