Iraq: Amnesty International calls for for Saddam Hussein's aides not to be executed

Amnesty International supporters around the world are urgently appealing to the Iraqi authorities to immediately commute the death sentence of three of Saddam Hussein’s aides who are scheduled to be executed this Sunday (7 January).

Two of the men – Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and ‘Awad Hamad al-Bandar al Sa’dun – were sentenced to death on 5 November 2006 while the former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadhan was initially sentenced to life imprisonment but now faces being executed.

All three men were tried with the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein who was executed last Saturday (30 Dec) and had their appeals rejected by the Iraqi Appeals Court.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director, Tim Hancock said:

“We oppose the death penalty in all cases, and the abhorrent images of the execution of Saddam Hussein serve as a stark reminder that this form of punishment is the ultimate violation of the right to life and incredibly cruel and inhumane.

“Executing these three men will do nothing to abate the turmoil taking place in Iraq at the moment, where we’re seeing ever increasing human rights violations. We urge the Iraqi authorities to immediately commute these sentences.”

Amnesty International welcomed the arrest of Saddam Hussein and his aides for the human rights violations committed under their regime, but the organisation is concerned that their trial had major flaws which rendered it unfair.

Since the reintroduction of the death penalty in Iraq in 2004, scores of people have been sentenced to death and there has been a rapid rise in the number of executions with at least 65 people put to death in 2006, many of them after unfair trials.

Tim Hancock said:

“Iraq had a chance to turn its back on the cruelty of the Saddam Hussein years and respect human rights, pursuing real justice with fair trials and humane punishment of those found guilty.

“But instead we are seeing a mounting death toll, not only in the streets but also in the name of ‘justice’.”

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