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Court upholds Saddam death sentence
by Al Jazeera (reposted)
Tuesday Dec 26th, 2006 9:44 AM
An Iraqi appeals court has confirmed the guilty verdict and death sentence against Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity, according to Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser.
"The appeals court has ratified the sentence," Judge Raed al-Juhi, a spokesman for the High Tribunal court that convicted Saddam, said on Tuesday.

The deposed Iraqi president was sentenced to death a month ago for his role in the execution of 148 Shias in revenge for an assassination attempt against him in the town of Dujail in 1982.

Iraqi High Tribunal rules say the execution must follow a final decision on the appeal within 30 days.

Talabani's privilege

In theory, Jalal Talabani, Iraq's head of state, must ratify all capital sentences. But he has previously said he would leave such a job to his vice-presidents because of his personal opposition to the death penalty.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Tuesday, Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq's Kurdish foreign minister, said he hoped that the implementation of the sentence will bring the dark Saddam chapter of the country's history to a close and accelerate the process of reconciliation.

He said the suggestions of other governments such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt on Saddam's fate would be taken note of, but Iraq reserved the right to take its own decision as a sovereign state.

Members of the country's Shia majority braved a strict curfew to celebrate the judgement with rowdy street parties, but some members of the once dominant Sunni community held protests and demanded Saddam's release.