Saddam's deputy should hang: Iraq appeals court
Baghdad, Mar 15: An Iraqi appeals court today upheld a decision by the High Court to hang Saddam Hussein's former vice president, a judge ruled today.
Taha Yassin Ramadan was sentenced in November to life in jail for his role in the killing of 148 Shi'ites in the town of Dujail in the 1980s for which Saddam and two former aides have been hanged. But an appeals court recommended that he receive the death penalty and referred the case back to the trial court.
''After checking the case, the appeal court found that the hardening of the life sentence to death sentence by the Iraqi High Court was in accordance with the law so the appeal court has decided to uphold the death sentence against the criminal Taha Yassin Ramadan,'' judge Munir Hadat said.
Hadat said the death sentence could be carried out ''at any moment.'' The trial court in November found Ramadan guilty of issuing orders for the systematic killing, detention and torture of men, women and children from Dujail following an attempt on Saddam's life there in 1982.
New York-based Human Rights Watch, which raised concerns about the fairness of the original trial, had said there had been a lack of evidence tying Ramadan to the Dujail killings.
United Nations human rights chief Louise Arbour has urged Iraq to spare Ramadan's life, saying a death sentence would break international law.
Saddam's execution in December sparked anger among fellow Sunnis, who were outraged by an illicit video showing the ousted leader being hanged to sectarian taunts from official observers.
His half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti was executed two weeks later in a botched hanging in which he was decapitated.