Sunni Chief Denies Ordering Officials Killed

Iraq’s political situation grew more chaotic Tuesday as Sunni leader Tariq al-Hashemi denied ordering the assassinations of government officials. The day before, the Shiite-led government had placed him under arrest and played videotaped confessions on television from three men who said they had been Hashemi’s bodyguards. The men claimed he had given them orders to carry out assassinations and paid them to kill officials with roadside bombs. Hashemi said the confessions were forced, and accused Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of using Iraq’s security forces to persecute political opponents. “The accusations have not been proven, so the accused is innocent until proven guilty,” Hashemi said. “I swear by God I didn’t do this disobedience against Iraqi blood, and I would never do this.”