DUBAI - Qatar said on Tuesday it will not hand Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi - accused by the Iraqi authorities of running death squads - over to his own government.
Iraq, whose sectarian divisions risk reopening over the case against Hashemi, one of the senior Sunni Arab politicians in a central government led by Shi'ite Muslims, had demanded Qatar return him a day earlier.
But Qatar said it was unable to comply with the request.
"It would be unwise for Mr Hashemi to be turned over by Qatar to Iraq," the state QNA news agency quoted Minister of State for International Cooperation Khalid Mohamed al-Attiyah as saying. "Diplomatic norms and Tareq al-Hashemi's position and the immunity he has prevent Qatar from doing so."