More confessions expected against Iraqi VP

Jan. 17, 2012 at 9:10 AM
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BAGHDAD, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A second group of bodyguards for Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi is expected to make statements against him by week's end, Iraqi television reports.

Three members of the security team for Hashemi, a member of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya slate, were arrested in December on terrorism charges. An arrest warrant was later issued for Hashemi following confessions from his bodyguards.

A second group is expected to make statements against the embattled vice president.

"Important confessions by a second group of Hashemi's bodyguards shall be made public within the coming 72 hours," the Voices of Iraq news agency quoted Arabic broadcaster al-Iraqiya as saying.

Political tensions in Iraq erupted shortly after U.S. forces ended their mission in Iraq last month. Iraqi leaders during visits with U.S. diplomats this week vowed to address the issues before political tensions escalated.

The Hashemi case was in part to blame for a decision by members of the Iraqiya slate to boycott the country's legislative assembly. Some members of Iraqiya said they may return to the political arena if leading figures work to resolve issues with members of their rank.

Iraqiya won parliamentary elections in 2010 but was unable to form the political majority needed to unseat Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

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