An Iraqi appeals court on Tuesday upheld Saddam Hussein’s death sentence for crimes against humanity and said he should hang within 30 days.
“The appeal court has approved the death sentence. They (the Iraqi government) have the right to choose the date starting from tomorrow up to 30 days. After 30 days it will be an obligation to implement the sentence,” Aref Abdul-Razzaq al-Shahin of the Iraqi High Tribunal told reporters in Baghdad.
Saddam, 69, was sentenced to death on November 5 for the killings of 148 Dujail Shias after he escaped assassination in the town in 1982.
Within hours of the verdict, India said it hoped the sentence would not be carried out. “It is our hope that the sentence will not be carried out and the former president’s life will be spared,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Navtej Sarna said. “We also hope no steps are taken which obstruct the course of reconciliation and delay the restoration of peace in Iraq.”
India is concerned about the popular unrest that may result from Saddam’s execution. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has in the past described Iraq’s invasion as a “mistake.” And on November 5, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had cautioned: “Such life and death decisions require credible process of law, which does not appear to be victor’s justice, and is acceptable to the people of Iraq and the international community.”