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Official: Fugitive Iraqi vice president sentenced to death

BAGHDAD - An Iraqi court on Sunday sentenced fugitive Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi to death by hanging after a trial on charges he ran death squads, Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar, a spokesman for the judiciary council said.
"The high criminal court issued a death sentence by hanging against Tareq al-Hashemi after he was convicted," he said.Hashemi, a Sunni, fled the country earlier this year after authorities sought his arrest. His case sparked a political crisis in the country's power-sharing government among Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish political blocs.
Hashemi accused Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of conducting a political witch-hunt against Sunni opponents, but the government said it was a judicial case. Hashemi is currently in Turkey.
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