Iraq ministry says VP Hashemi may flee

04/03/2012 16:18 BAGHDAD, March 4 (AKnews) - Iraq's interior ministry today asked Kurdish authorities to arrest Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi saying that he is planning to flee the country, reports AFP.

"The [Iraqi] interior ministry requested that the interior ministry of the Kurdistan regional government carry out the arrest warrant issued against him and hand him over to judicial authorities," AFP quoted from a statement.

Iraq's interior ministry allegedly has reliable information that Hashemi plans "to flee from the [Kurdistan] region to outside Iraq" the statement said.

The Iraqi Supreme Judiciary Council issued an arrest order for Hashemi on December 19 on terrorism charges after his guards confessed the VP was involved in series of attacks.

Hashemi denied the charges and fled to Kurdistan, where he is currently under the protection of Iraqi Kurdistan regional officials.

The VP, who is a member of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, believes Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is behind the accusations.

On February 16 the council announced Hashemi's involvement in 150 armed operations that targeted judges, doctors and senior officers in the ministries of defense and interior by using silent weapons and missiles.

Iraq's Central Criminal Court has set May 3 as the date for the first trail session of Hashemi and his secretary and son in law Ahmed Qahtan. There are also 70 other people in the VP's office wanted by the courts.