Baghdad recommends Kurdistan not to receive EU official

SHAFAQ NEWS – BASNEWS  – 25-10-2013 – BAGHDAD:  The foreign relations committee in the Iraqi parliament recommended on Thursday, the autonomous Kurdistan region not to receive a European official said that it was behind the invitation of Iraq’s fugitive vice president, Tareq al-Hashemi sentenced to death in absentia, to attend a conference at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Hashemi, in which an international arrest warrant has been issued against him, was able to arrive to Brussels thanks to an official invitation from the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament. However, he was unable to hold a press conference on the European Parliament.

The European invitation has sparked angry reactions by Iraqi officials, clerics and citizens. The international criminal police organization (Interpol) has rejected Iraqi government’s claims that they will hand over exiled Iraqi vice president Tareq al-Hashimi to Baghdad, and have accused the government of not having legitimacy. In a statement issued on their official website, Interpol quashed Baghdad’s assertions that they will arrest the vice president. Al-Hashimi fled to Turkey after he was accused by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of aiding terrorist groups.

The Interpol statement accuses the Iraqi government of violation of human rights, including torture, as well as preventing the courts from being independent in their rulings. In 2012 at the request of Iraqi authorities, Interpol issued a Red Notice for Iraq’s vice president. The Iraqi committee said in a statement on Thursday that “it has held a meeting under the chairmanship of Sheikh Hamoudi and in the presence of its members which recommended all officials and the Iraqi authorities not to deal with the EU committee of the relationship with Iraq in the European Parliament and its President, Stephenson .

The committee added that it has issued a recommendation on the invitation of Stephenson to al-Hashemi to attend a conference in Brussels. The Iraqi committee also recommended the authorities in Kurdistan region not to receive Stephenson and his accompanying delegation scheduled to visit the region.

.Hashemi expressed in a press conference held in Brussels this month, his willingness to return “immediately” to Baghdad to appear before the courts if the European Union pledged to ensure a fair trial for him. Hashemi, is one of the senior Sunni political leaders in Iraq and the main opponents of al-Maliki. After being charged in December 2011 of leading a number of “death squads” and the issuance of an arrest warrant against him, he fled to Kurdistan region of northern Iraq and then traveled to Qatar then Saudi Arabia before settling in Turkey.