Sunni Chief Denies Ordering Killings

    ** FILE ** In this , Saturday, Feb. 18,  2006 file photo, Iraq's Sunni Arab vice president Tariq al-Hashimi, gestures as he speaks to the press following his meeting with other politicians and President Jalal Talabani in Baghdad ,Iraq. Hashimi said Sunday Nov. 15, 2009, that he cannot approve the country's election law unless changes are made giving Iraqis living abroad more guaranteed seats in parliament. His move throws the country's national vote in January into question.(AP Photo/Ali Al-Saadi, Pool)

    Ali Al-Saadi / AP Photo

    Iraq’s political situation grew more chaotic Tuesday as Sunni leader Tariq al-Hashemi denied ordering the assassinations of government officials. The day before, the Shiite-led government had placed him under arrest and played videotaped confessions on television from three men who said they had been Hashemi’s bodyguards. The men claimed he had given them orders to carry out assassinations and paid them to kill officials with roadside bombs. Hashemi said the confessions were forced, and accused Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of using Iraq’s security forces to persecute political opponents. “The accusations have not been proven, so the accused is innocent until proven guilty,” Hashemi said. “I swear by God I didn’t do this disobedience against Iraqi blood, and I would never do this.”

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