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Road to perdition cleared

An Iraqi appeals court on Tuesday upheld Saddam Hussein?s death sentence for crimes against humanity and said he should hang within 30 days.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2006 02:48 IST

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,” the head of the Iraqi High Tribunal, Aref Abdul-Razzaq al-Shahin, told a news conference in Baghdad.

Saddam, 69, was sentenced to death on November 5 for the killings of 148 Shias from the town of Dujail after he escaped assassination there in 1982. Saddam’s half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and former judge Awad al-Bander also received the death penalty for their part in the incident. On Tuesday, the court rejected their appeals as well.

Within hours of the verdict, the Indian government reacted, saying 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,” Navtej Sarna, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesman said in a statement. “We also hope no steps are taken which obstruct the course of reconciliation and delay the restoration of peace in Iraq.”

Reports say Saddam can be hanged after his sentence has been ratified by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and the two vice presidents.

Email Nilova Roy Chaudhury and Reuters: nchaudhury@hindustantimes.com