Former Iraqi foreign minister sentenced to death

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

BAGHDAD - Former Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz and two other aides to toppled ruler Saddam Hussein were sentenced Tuesday by an Iraqi court to death by hanging.

Tuesday’s sentence by the Iraq Supreme Court in Baghdad was for Aziz’s role in the persecution and “liquidation” of Iraqi religious parties, particularly Muslim Shia parties.

Among other groups, the three were found guilty of targeting the Dawa Party, headed now by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Aziz, once the spokesman for the former Iraqi regime, is 74 years old and suffered a stroke in January in a prison in western Baghdad.

The other two aides to Saddam receiving the death penalty were Saadoun Shaker, a former interior minister, and Abdul Hamid Hamoud, who worked as a personal secretary to the iron-fisted ruler.

The former Iraqi president was himself hanged in 2006.

Aziz is already in jail, serving a 15-year sentence after being found guilty last year along with seven co-defendants for the execution of 42 merchants in 1992, accused of profiteering.

Aziz, who was also a deputy prime minister under Saddam, rejected the charges in an interview with the UK-based Guardian newspaper in August.

“Did I commit a crime against any civilian, military or religious man? The answer is no,” maintained Aziz.

He went on to accuse the US of destroying the country since the invasion in 2003 and said President Barack Obama was “leaving Iraq to the wolves”.

Aziz was the highest-ranking Christian politician in the former Iraqi regime and rose to international prominence as Baghdad’s top spokesman to the world. He surrendered to US troops shortly after the fall of Baghdad.

Filed under: Court, Immigration, World

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