By Jim Kouri
Interpol (International Police) released an international memorandum called “red notice” yesterday against the Iraqi fugitive Sunni Vice president Tariq al-Hashimi over alleged terrorist acts, according to an Israeli police source.
“At the request of Iraqi authorities, Interpol has published a red notice for Iraq’s Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi on suspicion of guiding and financing terrorist attacks in the country,” the international police agency said in a statement on its website.
The Interpol’s memorandum gives a regional and international alert to all the agency’s 190 member countries to cooperate to help in locating al-Hashimi and arresting him, following a previous issue of Iraqi arrest warrant by the country’s Judicial Investigative Authority, the statement said.
“The Interpol red notice against Tariq Al-Hashemi will significantly restrict his ability to travel and cross international borders. It is a powerful tool that will help authorities around the world locate and arrest him,” the statement quoted the world agency’s Secretary General Ronald K. Noble as saying.
However, the red notice is not an international arrest warrant, as many of the Interpol’s member countries consider such notice as a valid request for provisional arrest, particularly if they are linked to the requesting country with a bilateral extradition treaty. In such cases, the arrest based on red notice is made by national police of the Interpol member country, according to the statement.
Next Thursday, an Iraqi court is scheduled to start its first session over Hashimi who faces charges of running death squads against officials of the Shi’ite-dominated government, security forces and Shi’ite pilgrims, according to the Law Enforcement Examiner’s Israeli police source.
Hashimi, who fled to Turkey, will be tried in absentia over more than 150 charges filed against him, while 73 of his guards are facing more than 300 charges. Last month, Hashimi left Iraq’s northern Kurdish region on a tour to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and now Turkey, according to Interpol.
The day after he left Iraq, Baghdad demanded extradition for Hashimi, but Qatar refused the request, saying there is no court verdict against Hashimi and that he still holds official title, according to the Israeli National Police source.
Soon after the U.S. troops fully withdrew from Iraq late last year, Iraq plunged into serious political row as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki sought to arrest his political rival Hashimi, a leading member of the Sunni-backed political bloc of Iraqia, over terrorism charges.
Hashimi, who first fled to the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, rejected the accusations against him that he was running a death squad and said that he is ready to face trial on condition that it is held in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region, the Israeli source noted..
However, the highest body in the Iraqi judicial system rejected to transfer the case to the Kurdish region as the region has its own independent judicial system.