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 Iraqi court rejects Int'l calls to spare Tariq Aziz   

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Iraqi court rejects Int'l calls to spare Tariq Aziz  29.10.2010 

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October 29, 2010

BAGHDAD,—  The Supreme Criminal Court announced on Thursday its refusal to drop the death sentence imposed on the 74-year-old former deputy PM Tariq Aziz despite numerous appeals.

The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Vatican are among those who have called on the Iraqi court to reverse the death sentence on humanitarian grounds.

Supreme Criminal Court spokesman, Judge Mohammed Abdul-Sahib told AKnews that the verdict was delivered based on condemning evidence and hard facts which left the court with no doubts about the guilt of Aziz.

The judge added that the case was now out of the court’s hands.

"The court has nothing to do with the case after issuing its judicial decisions,” he said, "Issued judicial rulings are subject to appeal before the Appeals Chamber in accordance with the law.”

Abdul-Sahib went on to say that the Supreme Criminal Court was carefully guarded from external interference in its jurisdiction.                          

Tariq Aziz was the international face of Saddam's bloody government for years. Life photo
"Any pressure from inside or outside will not affect the provisions or stop them because the Iraqi judiciary is an independent authority."

The director of the Human Rights and Democracy Commission, Hassan Shaban, told AKnews that the death penalty was “severe and contrary to the principles of human rights”.

In the case of Tariq Aziz, a 74-year-old Christian, who is said to be in poor health following a recent stroke, Shaban called for the age of the defendant to be taken into account and questioned the legality of the Court’s sentence.

“The Iraqi Penal Code specifies that anyone who exceeds 70 years old is exempt from the death penalty,” he said, “the Federal Court Act includes some serious errors”.

Tariq Aziz arrived in court on Tuesday from his prison cell outside Baghdad where he is currently serving a 15-year sentence for his involvement in the execution of 42 Baghdad merchants in 1992,
www.ekurd.netand a seven-year sentence for the displacement of Feyili Kurds from Kirkuk in the 1980s.

The former deputy PM surrendered to U.S. forces after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003.

Aziz's son, Ziad Aziz, told BBC reporters after the sentence was read that the verdict was not surprising but insisted that his father was innocent.

"They want to kill everybody who belonged to the ex-government," he said.

"He was a politician, he dealt with the media. He didn't deal with security.
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