Vatican: Death of Tarek Aziz Will Not Help Iraq

Speaks Out Against the Execution of Saddam’s Aide

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2010 ( The Vatican is asking Iraq not to execute Tarek Aziz, the deputy prime minister of former President Saddam Hussein’s regime, as the act will not favor reconciliation or the reconstruction of peace in the country.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, issued the Vatican statement today after Iraq’s supreme court sentenced Aziz to death by hanging for involvement in the suppression of religious political parties.

«The position of the Catholic Church on the death penality is known,» the statement affirmed. «It is hoped, then, that the sentence against Tarek Aziz is not applied, precisely to promote reconciliation and reconstruction of justice and peace in Iraq, after it has suffered so much.»

Father Lombardi added that the Vatican would not be involved in a public «humanitarian intervention,» as it favors to work «through the diplomatic means at its disposition.»

Mikhail Yuhanna, known as Tarek Aziz, is 74 years old. He was baptized as a Chaldean Catholic. He served as deputy prime minister to Saddam Hussein from 1979-2003.

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