A Sunni politician accused of orchestrating a 2007 suicide attack on the Iraqi parliament and a host of other bombings and gangland-style killings said on Monday the allegations were false.
Mohammed al-Daini, a member of the Iraqi National Dialogue Front, said allegations made against him by the Shiite Muslim-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were revenge for criticism he made of the treatment of prisoners.
Reporters were shown the confessions—also broadcast on Iraqi television—by a nephew and a security guard of the accused MP who said they had carried out several attacks for Daini.
"The suicide bomber entered with an authorization paper from Mohammed al-Daini and blew himself up at the parliament," nephew Riad Ibrahim al-Daini said on the video, adding that he had taken the assailant to the scene.
Al-Daini said filmed confessions were extracted by force.
"The physical and psychological torture which those people were subjected to was so obvious," Daini told a news conference.
"We knew there would be a price to pay for supporting the innocent, but we did not expect the exaggerated actions taking place that are beyond all legal and constitutional limits."
Military spokesman Qassim Moussawi said authorities were waiting for the courts to issue an arrest warrant for Daini, after which they would ask parliament to lift his immunity.
A warrant already had been issued for his brother, Ahmed al-Daini, on terrorism charges, Moussawi told Reuters on Monday.
"We have enough evidence to incriminate Mohammed al-Daini," Moussawi said.
Impact on Shiit-Sunni relations
The allegations against Daini could strain relations between the Shiite-led government and Sunnis who dominated Iraq under Saddam Hussein, even as sectarian violence between the communities unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion wanes.
Topping the list was a suicide bombing in 2007 that killed eight people in parliament, in the heart of the heavily fortified and, at the time, U.S.-protected Green Zone.
The bodyguards said Daini had ordered 100 people buried alive in revenge for the deaths of 10 associates.
Daini said the accusations were an attempt by the government to bully parliament into submission.
"This is part of a series of campaigns ... aimed at emptying parliament of anyone who intends to monitor the government's activities," he said.
"It is a warning bell to all members of parliament who may face similar accusations."