Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi has escaped imprisonment again, for the time being, as the Kurdistan Regional government has announced it will not hand him over to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Maliki has been trying to arrest Hashemi, one of Iraq’s top Sunni politicians, on charges of terrorism, saying he was running a death squad. Hashemi has denied the allegations and the Iraqiya Party has complained that the regime is just trying to jail potential rivals.
The Kurdish government’s statement did not outright refuse to arrest Hashemi, but said they wanted Maliki to accept certain Hashemi demands, including wanted to be tried outside of Baghdad.
Iraq’s Kurdish and Sunni Arab political blocs have withdrawn from the government complaining that Maliki is consolidating dictatorial power. The Obama Administration has praised Maliki for the moves, saying that the attempts to arrest Hashemi are “fair.“