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Trial Of Fugitive Iraqi VP Starts In Baghdad

Tariq al-Hashimi is now in Turkey.
The trial in absentia of Iraq's fugitive Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, who is accused of running death squads, has opened in Baghdad.

The trial was subsequently adjourned until May 20 after a number of witnesses testified.

Hashimi, who is currently in Turkey, has denied accusations that he had been behind attacks against Shi'ite pilgrims and officials, saying the case against him has been orchestrated by his Iraqi Shi'ite political enemies.

Hashimi, one of Iraq's highest-ranking minority Sunni politicians, fled Baghdad in December when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government sought his arrest.

Hashimi's son-in-law, Ahmad Ahmad Kahtan, and more than 70 of his bodyguards have also been charged.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP