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US denies role in timing of Saddam verdict

White House spokesman said Iraq's judiciary was operating 'independently'.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2006 22:28 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The US denied on Sunday that it had any hand in the timing of the death sentence to former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and said Iraq's judiciary was operating 'independently'.

The idea that "somehow we've been scheming and plotting with the Iraqis" is "preposterous", White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

The US is to hold key mid-term elections two days after the announcement of the verdict and the Bush administration has been accused of timing the verdict ahead of the elections in order to boost public opinion of the weakened Republicans.

Iraqis conducted the trial and "the Iraqi judges are the ones who spent all the time poring over the evidence," Snow said, adding that "it's important to give them credit for running their own government".

"The judiciary is operating independently and we need to give them credit for doing their job and doing it in the way they saw fit and proper," Snow said.

Earlier in the day, Saddam and two of his senior aides were sentenced to death by hanging after the Iraqi High Tribunal found them guilty of crimes against humanity over the execution of 148 Shia villagers of Dujail in a crackdown on the town after a failed assassination attempt against Saddam in 1982.

The US invaded Iraq and toppled the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003.

First Published: Nov 05, 2006 22:28 IST