During his recent visit to Turkey, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has tried to convince exiled former Iraqi Vice President Tariq Hashimi to return to Iraq.
Well-placed sources claim Abadi asked Turkish officials to help him persuade Hashimi to return to Iraq and re-engage in the Iraqi political process.
“Abadi promised that the Iraqi central court will review the case of Hashimi so he can be cleared of all charges and once again become involved in the Iraqi political process,” said the anonymous source.
The source from the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office told BasNews that Abadi wants to normalize the Iraqi political system and Hashimi can play a pivotal role in calming tensions between Iraqi Sunnis and the Shiite-led Baghdad government.
In December 2011, Hashimi fled to the Kurdistan Region to avoid arrest on murder charges. The Central Criminal Court of Iraq convicted him and sentenced him in absentia to death on 9 September 2012. Since April 2012, Hashimi has been living in Ankara, Turkey, with the assurance that he will not be extradited.
He has rejected the charges and accused former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of orchestrating a crackdown on Sunni opponents and refused to appear in a court he dismissed as biased.
Hashimi served as the general secretary of the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) until May 2009 and in 2005 become Iraqi vice president until late 2011.