Iraq’s Sunni Arab Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said on Tuesday he was “ready to face trial” on terror charges on condition that the case be heard in the autonomous Kurdish region.
“I suggest transferring the case to Kurdistan,” Hashemi told a news conference in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil. “On this basis, I will be ready to face trial.”
He also called for representatives of the Arab League to take part in the investigation and any questioning, and said apparent confessions aired on state television linking him to attacks were fabricated.
On Monday, a five-member judicial panel issued a warrant for Hashemi’s arrest on terror charges, plunging Iraq into political crisis. The Sunni leader has also been banned from overseas travel.
Days after U.S. forces left the country and on the eve of the first anniversary of the government, Iraq’s fragile political truce looked to be unraveling.
Iraqiya, the main Sunni-backed bloc, is boycotting the cabinet while Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called for the sacking of one of his deputies, a Sunni who branded the Shiite-led government a “dictatorship.”
The White House has voiced concern over the developments, and multiple Iraqi leaders, including Maliki, have called for a national conference of the country's political blocs to break the deadlock.