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Iraqi Sunni Lawmaker in Hiding as Police Seek His Arrest


Iraqi officials said a Sunni lawmaker is on the run from police who are seeking his arrest on charges of orchestrating sectarian violence.

Iraq's parliament lifted Mohammed al-Daini's immunity Wednesday, allowing authorities to issue an arrest warrant and prompting him to go into hiding.

Daini is accused of ordering a series of sectarian killings, including a 2007 suicide bombing, inside Iraq's parliament that killed eight people. Two of his bodyguards said in videotaped statements that he ordered them to carry out the attacks.

Daini denies the allegations and says the footage of his bodyguards shows they were tortured.

Media reports said Daini was flying to Jordan's capital, Amman, Wednesday from Baghdad when Iraqi authorities ordered the passenger plane to return to Iraq's capital. They said Daini disappeared after arriving back at Baghdad's airport.

The Sunni lawmaker has accused Iraq's Shi'ite-led government of abusing the rights of prisoners in Iraqi jails. He also has complained about what he calls Iranian influence over Iraq's Shi'ite leaders. Iran and Iraq are majority Shi'ite countries.

Daini's supporters said authorities are targeting him because he is a Sunni. Iraqi Sunni politicians have called for investigations of all lawmakers suspected of links to sectarian violence, which exploded in the years following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Iraqi Sunni and Shi'ite groups have expressed hope that Iraq's recent provincial elections and national elections due later this year will help reconciliation efforts.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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