BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's embattled Sunni vice president says government charges that he ran death squads are politically motivated.
Tariq al-Hashemi vigorously defended himself during a half-hour speech Monday against charges that he said were based on coerced statements against him.
The Shiite-led government issued a warrant for al-Hashemi's arrest in December on charges that he paid his bodyguards to kill security officials and workers in Iraq's health and foreign ministries.
A judicial panel last week concluded that al-Hashemi was behind at least 150 attacks since 2005.
Al-Hashemi was speaking from the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, where he has sought haven from arrest in the autonomous Kurdish region.