Italy renews its request to save Tariq Aziz13/12/2011 10:23
BAGHDAD, Dec. 13 (AKnews) - Italy has renewed its plea for clemency in the case of Tariq Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister in Saddam Husein's government.
An official source in the Iraqi government said Monday that Italy renewed its request through an official letter sent by its ambassador in Baghdad to the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, asking him to intervene personally. Aziz, 75, was also a member of the disbanded Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council.
The adviser to the P.M., Abdul Hussein Hamid al-Jabiri passed the buck for his boss. He told AKnews the office of the President is responsible for saying live or die, not the office of the P.M.
Italy, along with Russia, the Vatican and Arab States appealed against the death penalty in 2010. Italy, with the European Union, opposes the sentence believing it to be politically motivated.
The Ministry of Justice said in a statement on Thursday that Aziz will not be executed unless the sentencing court's ruling is ratified by the Presidency of the Republic.
The Iraqi Presidency Council includes the President Jalal Talabani and his two deputies Khudair al-Khuzaei and Tariq al-Hashemi. Talabani has already said he will not sign the death sentence because Aziz's age. The pensionable former politician is believed to have suffered a stroke in Jan. 2010 while in prison.
Aziz was the international face of the dead dictator Hussein and he surrendered to U.S. forces after the fall of his former boss' regime. Aziz was handed over to Iraqi authorities this year.
The Iraqi High Tribunal sentenced Aziz in Oct. 2010. He represented Iraq in international forums and recieveced the death penalty for his part in persecuting Shiite leaders many of whom now occupy posts in the government.
In 2009 an Iraqi court sentenced Aziz to 15 for killing merchants in 1992. He also received a further seven years for his role in displacing Kurds as a part of Hussein's "Arabization" program of forced evictions and migrations.
By Mouhammed Tayyeb