Iraqi VP Claims Innocence

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.”