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Iraq's Sunni Vice President Seeks Popular Support To Fight Charges

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi

Iraq's Sunni vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, has called on "all honest people" to support him as he fights government charges that he was running death squads.

In a televised speech from the autonomous Kurdish region, where he took refuge two months ago, Hashimi again dismissed the charges, calling them a political "fabrication" by Iraq's Shi'ite-led authorities.

He said he would continue to defy an arrest warrant and remain in the Kurdish region, whose leaders have so far declined to hand him over.

The warrant for Hashimi's arrest deepened sectarian tensions between the country's minority Sunnis and the majority Shi'a.

The warrant was issued on December 19, the day after the last remaining U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq.