Terror trial of Iraq VP postponed over witnesses

By the Associated Press | July 8, 2012 | 6:38 AM EDT

BAGHDAD (AP) — A lawyer for Iraq's fugitive vice president says a judge has adjourned his trial on terror charges, adding that the proceedings will resume once a higher court decides whether the defense can question the country's president and five lawmakers.

The lawyer, Muyyiad Obeid al-Ezzi, said Baghdad's Criminal Court adjourned Sunday's trial to wait for a federal court ruling on whether President Jalal Talabani can be summoned as a character witness.

The politically charged case has sparked a crisis in Iraq's government and fueled Sunni Muslim and Kurdish resentment against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite who critics say is monopolizing power.

Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, now in Turkey, denies accusations he ran death squads targeting Shiite officials. He says the case is a political vendetta by al-Maliki.