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October 27 2010 | IRAQ

Iraq

Tareq Aziz sentenced to death. The Holy See and the Europe: do not execute him

 
printable version

Ansa

IRAQ: TAREQ AZIZ; UE,ITALIA E S.SEDE, SI FERMI IL BOIA /ANSA

IRAQ: TAREQ AZIZ; UE,ITALIA E S.SEDE, SI FERMI IL BOIA
NO DA NAPOLITANO A FRATTINI.VATICANO,INTERVERREMO CON DIPLOMAZIA

(di Eloisa Gallinaro)

ROMA, 26 OTT - La sentenza non venga applicata: dall'Italia e dalla Comunita' internazionale tutta, da destra e da sinistra, l'appello contro la condanna a morte di Tareq Aziz e' unanime. Ed e' condivisa la convinzione che l'esecuzione dell'ex braccio destro di Saddam Hussein, a quasi dieci anni dalla caduta del regime, sia inutile e dannosa per le 'prove ' di evoluzione democratica dell'Iraq. Anche il Vaticano scende in campo facendo sapere che, pur nella massima prudenza, interverra' attraverso vie diplomatiche.

Contro la pena capitale inflitta dall'Alta Corte di Baghdad al cattolico caldeo Aziz e' in prima linea il presidente della Repubblica Giorgio Napolitano che da Pechino, dove si trova in visita accompagnato dal ministro degli Esteri Franco Frattini, annuncia la richiesta all'Iraq di bloccare l'esecuzione e il sostegno alla presa di posizione di condanna dell'Unione europea. Secondo l'Alto rappresentante per la politica estera dell'Ue, Catherine Ashton, che chiedera' alle autorita' di Baghdad di bloccare l'esecuzione, la pena di morte ''non e' accettabile'' per l'Europa.

Una posizione condivisa, a nome dell'esecutivo, dal titolare della Farnesina, e una prima, netta, risposta, alla richiesta di Giovanni Di Stefano, uno degli avvocati di Tareq Aziz che, a suo nome, ha scritto due lettere - al governo e a papa Benedetto XVI - chiedendo aiuto per poter ''vivere in pace in Italia''.

A un altro legale, Badia al-Aref, che preannuncia una richiesta al Vaticano perche' fermi l'esecuzione, risponde il direttore della Sala Stampa vaticana, padre Federico Lombardi.

La Santa Sede - scrive Lombardi - si augura che ''la sentenza contro Tareq Aziz non venga eseguita, proprio per favorire la riconciliazione e la ricostruzione della pace e della giustizia in Iraq dopo le grandi sofferenze attraversate''.

La decisione del tribunale iracheno ''non aiuta la costruzione di un nuovo Iraq democratico'' ed e' ''assolutamente inutile'' e' il commento dei sottosegretari agli Esteri Stefania Craxi e Alfredo Mantica. Il presidente dell'Udc, Rocco Buttiglione, chiede ''clemenza'' e Roberto Formigoni, governatore della Lombardia, vuole una ''mobilitazione internazionale'' per risparmiare la vita del ''volto ragionevole'' del regime di Saddam, come lo ha definito il Custode del Sacro Convento di Assisi, padre Giuseppe Piemontese.

''Un nuovo delitto'': cosi' Pietro Marcenaro (Pd), presidente della commissione Diritti Umani, giudica la condanna a morte dell'ex vice premier iracheno. Un coro di no all'esecuzione giunge anche dal Parlamento europeo: da David Sassoli, capogruppo Pd, a Mario Mauro, presidente dei deputati del Pdl. E mentre Emma Bonino pensa che la condanna sia ''un modo per tappargli la bocca'', Marco Pannella annuncia uno sciopero immediato della fame e della sete. (ANSA).

 

Ansa

IRAQ: TAREQ AZIZ; VESCOVI IRACHENI CONTRARI A PENA DI MORTE

CITTA' DEL VATICANO, 27 OTT - Vescovi iracheni contrari alla pena di morte inflitta dalla corte irachena a Tareq Aziz, vice premier ai tempi del regime di Saddam Hussein.

''Condanniamo in ogni caso la pena capitale'', ha affermato il vicario patriarcale caldeo di Baghdad, mons. Shlemon Warduni, commentando la notizia a Baghdadhope, citato dal Sir. ''Noi cristiani - ha aggiunto - rispettiamo il diritto alla vita. La nostra fede ci porta a credere che a nessuno debba essere tolta la vita che Dio ha donato. Cio' che chiediamo e' la pace, la sicurezza e l'incontro tra le persone, non il loro scontro.

Vogliamo il meglio per ogni essere umano''.

Dello stesso parere anche l'arcivescovo latino della capitale irachena, mons. Jean B. Sleiman che, a margine di un incontro sulla cristianita' in Iraq svoltosi a Torino, ha avanzato ''l'ipotesi'' che la condanna possa essere una sorta di ''messaggio'', di ''stop'' alle parti che in Iraq premono per il reintegro nella vita politica e sociale del Paese degli appartenenti al disciolto partito Baath.

 

Asca

IRAQ: VESCOVI IRACHENI CONTRARI A CONDANNA A MORTE TAREQ AZIZ

Roma, 27 ott - I vescovi iracheni sono contrari alla condanna a morte di Tareq Aziz, vicepremier ai tempi del regime baathista di Saddam Hussein. ''Condanniamo in ogni caso la pena capitale'' ha affermato il vicario patriarcale caldeo di Baghdad, mons. Shlemon Warduni, commentando la notizia al sito Baghdadhope. ''Noi cristiani rispettiamo il diritto alla vita. La nostra fede ci porta a credere che a nessuno debba essere tolta la vita che Dio ha donato. Cio' che chiediamo e' la pace, la sicurezza e l'incontro tra le persone, non il loro scontro. Vogliamo il meglio per ogni essere umano''. Dello stesso parere anche l'arcivescovo latino della capitale irachena, mons. Jean B. Sleiman che, secondo quanto riferisce il Servizio di Informazione Religiosa della Cei, a margine di un incontro sulla cristianita' in Iraq svoltosi a Torino, ha avanzato ''l'ipotesi'' che la condanna possa essere una sorta di ''messaggio'', di ''stop'' alle parti che in Iraq premono per il reintegro nella vita politica e sociale del Paese degli appartenenti al disciolto partito Baath.

 

Reuter

IRAQ-COURT/AZIZ-EXECUTION (FACTBOX)

Aziz latest in line of death sentences in Iraq

Oct 26 - Iraq's high tribunal on Tuesday passed a death sentence on Tareq Aziz, one of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's most prominent deputies, over the persecution of Islamic parties, the court's media office said.

Here are some of the major figures from Saddam's regime already executed or sentenced to death: * SADDAM HUSSEIN: -- Executed December 2006: -- Saddam Hussein was charged in late 2005 with crimes against humanity for the killing of 148 Shi'ite men after a 1982 assassination attempt against him in the town of Dujail. In Aug.

2006 a second trial began, on charges of war crimes against Iraqi Kurds in what was code named Anfal -- Spoils of War -- after the title of a chapter in the Koran. The campaign saw whole villages flattened, farming destroyed and inhabitants forcibly removed. Estimates of deaths range from tens of thousands to over 100,000.

* CHEMICAL ALI -- Executed January 2010: -- Ali Hassan al-Majeed, widely known as "Chemical Ali", was first sentenced to hang in June 2007 for his role in the Anfal military campaign against ethnic Kurds. The campaign took place from February until August 1988.

-- In December 2008 he received a second death sentence, this one for his part in crushing a Shi'ite revolt after the 1991 Gulf War.

-- Majeed was given a third death sentence in March 2009 for his role in killing and displacing Shi'ite Muslims in 1999.

-- In Jan. 2010, an Iraqi court sentenced Majeed to death for a 1988 gas attack in the Kurdish town of Halabja that killed an estimated 5,000 Kurds.

* BARZAN IBRAHIM AL-TIKRITI: -- Executed in January 2007.

-- Saddam's half-brother, Barzan was head of the feared Mukhabarat intelligence service from 1979 to 1983. Witnesses in his trial said he personally oversaw torture.

* AWAD HAMED AL-BANDER: -- Executed in January 2007.

-- Bander was a former chief judge in Saddam's Revolutionary Court, which was accused of organising show trials that often led to summary executions.

-- Bander was the judge in charge of trying many of the 148 Shi'ite men killed after a failed assassination bid on Saddam in 1982.

* TAHA YASSIN RAMADAN: -- Executed in March 2007.

-- Saddam Hussein's former vice-president, was hanged in Baghdad for his role in the killing of the 148 Shi'ite Muslim men in Dujail.

* ASAAD AL HASHEMI: -- Iraq's former culture minister was sentenced to death in absentia, for the 2005 deaths of secular Sunni politician Mithal al-Alusi's two sons, the court said in Aug. 2008.

-- Hashemi, who was a member of Iraq's main Sunni Arab bloc, the Accordance Front, became part of Iraq's Shi'ite-led government in 2006.

* SULTAN HASHIM: -- A former defence minister, Hashim received a death sentence in June 2007 for his role in Anfal.

* HUSSEIN RASHEED: -- The former army chief of staff was sentenced to death in June 2007, also because of his involvement in Anfal.

(For main story please click on [ID:nLDE69POV4 ) (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

 

AP

Top Saddam ally, Tariq Aziz, to be executed

By BARBARA SURK and REBECCA SANTANA

BAGHDAD _ Tariq Aziz, the dapper diplomat and highest-ranking Christian in Saddam Hussein's regime, was sentenced Tuesday to death by hanging for persecuting members of the Shiite religious parties that now dominate the country.

The decision to execute the 74-year-old Aziz, who has suffered a series of strokes in prison, shows the depth of hatred among the country's current Shiite leadership for top figures in a Baathist regime that sent hundreds of thousands of opponents to death or exile.

Among Shiites in the vast, eastern Baghdad slum called Sadr City, a gallows death for one of Saddam's ardent aides was considered a fitting end.

«This is a fair judicial court ruling against those whose hands are still bloodied,» said Kamil Jassim, a 32-year-old teacher.

Many Sunnis, the minority Muslim sect that dominated Iraq under Saddam, questioned whether the death sentence was merely revenge masquerading as justice.

«The aim of this court, formed by this government, is to kill and liquidate all of the former regime's senior figures if they committed crimes or not. It is an unfair trial and unfair verdict,» said Jameel Sahib Ali, a 50-year-old merchant in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit.

Aziz was wearing a blue suit and his trademark oversized glasses as he sat alone in court. He frequently grasped the handrail that surrounds the defendant's box and bowed his head as the judge read out the verdict.

Tuesday's proceedings, broadcast on state TV, came nearly 20 years after Aziz's meeting in Geneva with U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker failed to prevent the 1991 Gulf War. Aziz also met with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican weeks before the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion in a bid to head off that conflict.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Vatican would lobby Iraq to halt the execution. He said commuting the sentence would encourage reconciliation and the rebuilding of peace and justice in Iraq.

No date has been set for the hanging, and Aziz's lawyer has 30 days to appeal the sentence handed down by a court responsible for prosecuting crimes committed by the former regime. The verdict came two months after Aziz was transferred from U.S. to Iraqi custody.

Aziz's lawyers accused the government of orchestrating the verdict to divert attention from recent revelations about prisoner abuse by Iraqi security forces contained in U.S.

military documents released last week by the whistle-blower site WikiLeaks.

«The trial was nothing short of a farce,» Aziz's Italy-based lawyer, Giovanni Di Stefano, said in a statement. The Iraqi court «has sentenced Aziz to death on allegations that are frankly nothing short of malicious, capricious and nonexistent.» Aziz has already been convicted in two other cases, receiving a combined 22 years in prison. In an interview with The Associated Press this summer, Aziz predicted he would die in prison.

In the long-running case for which he received the death penalty, Aziz was accused of being part of a campaign of persecuting, killing and torturing members of the Shiite opposition and religious parties banned under Saddam. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is a member of one of the religious parties central to the case.

Aziz was sentenced to 15 years in prison for taking part in forced displacement, 10 years for committing torture, and death by hanging for participating in deliberate killings. The judge gave no details of Aziz's specific role.

Iraq has executed other high-profile members of Saddam's regime. When the former dictator was hanged in December 2006, onlookers taunted him as the noose slipped over his neck, raising allegations the Shiite-led government was bent on revenge.

Tuesday's verdict comes as al-Maliki tries to hold onto his job more than seven months after an inconclusive March election. The Aziz sentence may make it harder for al-Maliki to gain Sunni support but it could improve his negotiating position among fellow Shiites.

Charles Dunne, an Iraq expert at the Middle East Institute, said the verdict will strengthen the prime minister's tough image as a defender of Shiites.

«It will strengthen his anti-Baathist stand that helped him in the past since it was a strong element of his election campaign,» Dunne said.

Aziz, a fluent English speaker, became internationally known as the dictator's defender and a fierce American critic first as foreign minister after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and later as a deputy prime minister.

He surrendered to U.S. forces about a month after the March 2003 invasion. He was held at an American prison in Baghdad until the U.S. handed over control of the facility in July to the Iraqi government. The Americans transferred Aziz to Iraqi custody along with dozens of other former regime figures as part of preparations for a full withdrawal of U.S. forces by the end of next year.

Five other members of the deposed regime were sentenced to death Tuesday for similar crimes.

___ Associated Press Writers Sameer N. Yacoub in Amman, Jordan, and Lara Jakes in Baghdad contributed to this report.

 

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