Saddam's aides to be executed in the next days, says lawyer

Saddam's Hussein's close aides, including his cousin, so-called "Chemical Ali", have been told death sentences passed against them would be carried out in the next days but a prosecutor has denied a date has been set, press reports said Friday.

Saddam's aides to be executed in the next days, says lawyer
Saddam's Hussein's close aides, including his cousin, so-called "Chemical Ali", have been told death sentences passed against them would be carried out in the next days but a prosecutor has denied a date has been set, press reports said Friday.

The Saudi-owned newspaper, al-Sharq al-Awsat, quoted Badi Arif Ezzat, the lawyer of Hussein Rashid Tikriti, the former deputy commander of Iraqi army operations, as saying executions would be carried out Saturday or Sunday.

Iraq's appeals court upheld Tuesday death sentences passed against Saddam's three close aides, including Tikriti, for directing a genocide campaign against the country's Kurds in al-Anfal areas of northern Iraq in 1987.

The chief prosecutor in the al-Anfal case, Jafar al-Musawi, told al-Sharq al-Awsat that he has not been informed of the date for the executions.

The death sentences will have to be carried out within 30 days in accordance with the law of the court, the trial's judges said.

But Ezzat said: "Although I consider the law establishing the tribunal unjust and illegal as it was issued under occupation, I will use articles of the law that say a death sentence should be carried out 30 days after its ratification rather than within 30 days as claimed."

The defence lawyer also disputed a statement by Iraq's supreme criminal tribunal that a presidential ratification of the death sentence was unnecessary.

Al-Musawi confirmed the lawyer's view saying the death sentence should be referred to the presidency for ratification.

"The question of the implementation of the death sentences is up to the executive; the tribunal has completed its work. But as the chief prosecutor I should be informed in order to attend the execution or send in someone else,"al-Musawi said.

Saddam's cousin, Ali Hasan al-Majid,who earned the nickname "Chemical Ali" because of the use of mustard gas against the Kurds, and the former dictator's defence minister, Sultan Hashim, were also sentenced to death.

Thousands of Kurds perished in an ethnic cleansing campaign led by Majid in northern Iraq in 1987.

The appeals court also upheld life sentences against two other accused in the trial and the release of a third.

Saddam was put to death in December 2006 for crimes against humanity. His regime was toppled by a US-led invasion in 2003.

DPA
Last Mod: 07 Eylül 2007, 13:01
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