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Iraq's Sunni VP receives new death sentence

Associated Press Modified: November 4, 2012 at 6:01 am •  Published: November 4, 2012
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Al-Hashemi is a longtime opponent of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite Muslim. The government has accused the vice president of playing a role in 150 bombings, assassinations and other attacks from 2005 to 2011. That was a period when Iraq was mired in retaliatory sectarian violence that followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein's Sunni regime.

He has dismissed the charges as a political vendetta pursued by his long-time rival, al-Maliki.

Also Sunday, a provincial official said authorities have arrested a police officer in charge of a prison from which scores of inmates, including as many as 47 convicted al-Qaida militants, escaped last September with what the government has acknowledged was help from inside.

Ahmed al-Shaalan, deputy head of Salahuddin provincial council said Col. Laith al-Sagmani was arrested few days ago and was sent to Baghdad. He's accused of failure to carry out his duties during the jailbreak, al-Shaalan added.

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Associated Press Writer Sameer N. Yacoub contributed to this report.