Friday, 26 January 2007

Iraq delays death penalty hearing

Iraq delays death penalty hearing

An Iraqi court has postponed a decision on whether to execute
Taha Yasin Ramadan, who was vice-president under
Saddam Hussein.

He was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the killing of 148 Shia villagers

in Dujail in 1982.

The Appeals Court ruled that the sentence was too lenient and recommended

the death sentence.

Three of his co-defendants, including ex-President Saddam Hussein have

already been executed by hanging.

Ramadan was originally sentenced to life in prison for the Dujail killings

Executions criticised

The Iraqi High Tribunal adjourned the hearing until 12 February after

the lawyers for the prosecutors seeking the death sentence failed to appear

because they were not notified, judge Ali al-Kahishi said.

Taha Yasin Ramadan was originally sentenced on 5 November, the same day

Saddam Hussein, his half-brother and former head of Iraq's secret police

Barzan al-Tikriti, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar - a former head of Iraq's Revolutionary

Court - were sentenced to death for the Dujail killings.

Saddam Hussein was hanged on 30 December. Barzan and al-Bandar

were hanged on 15 January.

All three executions have been criticised by the international community.

Three other defendants in the Dujail trial were each sentenced to 15 years in prison

while a seventh defendant was acquitted.

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