Russia and the Middle East
Mon, 21 june 2021Mon
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Iraqi President refuses to sign Tareq Aziz death warrant

Iraqs newly re-elected President Jalal Talabani is refusing to sign an execution order for Tareq Aziz. His apparent decision follows both the Vatican and Russias call not to carry out the death penalty on humanitarian grounds because of the ex-Iraqi foreign ministers age and health problems.

The 70 year-old deputy to former dictator Saddam Hussein was sentenced last month by a court over his role in the persecution of Islamic parties under the regime. Speaking in Paris, Talabani said he would not sign the death warrant. The Kurdish party leader also said he sympathised with Aziz, saying he was an old man and a Christian.

Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether President Talabanis opposition will be enough to prevent the order from being carried out. In 2006, despite Talabanis apparent refusal, Iraqi authorities did execute Saddam Hussein.