Iraqi VP demands inquiry into bodyguard's death

Published:

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq's fugitive Sunni vice president is demanding that global rights groups investigate whether one of his bodyguards was tortured to death.

Tariq al-Hashemi in a speech Tuesday accused Iraq's government of covering up the imprisonment and slaying of bodyguard Amir Sarbut Zaidan al-Batawi.

Pictures of al-Batawi's body shown before al-Hashemi's speech showed multiple bruises.

Baghdad's military command says al-Batawi died on March 15 of kidney failure. It delivered the body to his family on March 20.

Al-Hashemi and his bodyguards are accused of running death squads against Shiite pilgrims as well as government and security officials.

He has denied the charges and has fled to the semiautonomous Kurdish region to avoid arrest.