Iraqi VP Claims Innocence

    Iraqi Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi (C) gestures as he arrives to speak to the media after his meeting with the leader of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan, at the Conrad Hotel in Istanbul, on April 19, 2012. Iraq's fugitive vice president, who has been sheltering in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, following a political dispute in Baghdad met the region's leader Massud Barzani today. AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

    Bulent Kilic, AFP / Getty Images

    After being sentenced to death in absentia Sunday, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who has been in exile in Turkey, maintained his “absolute innocence” and said that the charges against him were politically motivated. The Sunni politician became the target of terror charges in December, and he said Monday that Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had framed him. “The death sentence is a price I have to pay due to love of my country and my loyalty to my people,” al-Hashemi said Monday. “I reiterate that I’m innocent and am ready to stand before a fair judicial system and not a corrupt one that is under al-Maliki’s influence.”

    Read it at The Associated Press