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  • » 11/18/2010, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Archbishop Sako: the death penalty for Aziz and others is only an act of revenge



    After Talabani refused to sign the death sentence for Tareq Aziz, the archbishop of Kirkuk invites him to pardon similar sentences: Saddam's former officers now in prison are no longer a danger to the country.

    Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Cancel the death penalty in the new Iraq to allow the country's true development. In the aftermath of the Iraqi president’s order to halt the death sentence of Tareq Aziz, the Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk, Msgr. Louis Sako, reiterates the need to stop these "acts of revenge that do not serve peace."

    "The death sentence is an offense to the human person. Who has the right to take a person’s life?" the archbishop said to AsiaNews. "I do not say this because the former Iraqi vice president Tareq Aziz is a Catholic, but because the death sentence is an absurdity in itself. The international community has a duty to ask all the governments for its suppression".

    Yesterday a window of hope was opened for the 74 year-old Tareq Aziz, the last surviving high ranking representative of the deposed Iraqi regime, condemned to death by the High Court three weeks ago in Baghdad. President Jalal Talabani, who has always opposed the death penalty, insisted he will not sign the execution order. Just as he had assured in the case of the former Rais Saddam Hussein, who was later hanged in December 2006.

    Archbishop Sako said that "everyone in Iraq knows that Aziz and other officials of the government could not object to the opinion of former President Saddam Hussein. Those who dared to give an opinion other than their own were killed. Being a member of an authoritarian government is a trap".

    The archbishop then confirmed the importance of a genuine democratic progress in Iraq: "We have made progress, albeit slowly, towards democracy. Elections, freedom of expression, media, travel abroad, now we must remove the death penalty. This will help the progress towards democracy and reconciliation, especially since Aziz and others do not represent a danger to national security. They can simply remain in jail". "The death sentences - concluded Msgr. Sako - are acts of revenge, a sign of weakness of a state, an initiative not worthy of the new Iraq. I pray and hope that these sentences will not be executed". (LYR)

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    See also

    10/09/2012 IRAQ
    Archbishop of Kirkuk: sectarian violence in Iraq "politically motivated"
    A series of attacks across the country leave an estimated 100 dead and over 350 injured. The violent response to the death penalty imposed in absentia on Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi. Archbishop Sako: divided government, reconciliation project faltering, a fragmented nation and "common" traits with events in Syria, and strong impact of nearby countries. Hopes for peace and future prospects in Benedict XVI's visit to Lebanon.

    11/03/2008 IRAQ
    Silence must not descend on Archbishop of Mosul
    The appeal was launched by the Archbishop of Kirkuk, 12 days on from Msgr. Rahoo’s abduction. To the Bishops and Christians of the world: “do not remain indifferent to this suffering, do not leave us alone to face this trial”. Amid increased fears, today in Kirkuk 15 Muslim leaders ask once again that the prelate be released.

    04/12/2012 IRAQ
    Advent in Kirkuk: young people help poor Christian and Muslim children
    The response to the archbishop's initiative "really surprised everyone." Some of the money will go to the Sick Children's Hospital and people who need treatment and drugs. For Mgr Sako, bringing "Christ's joy to their hearts" at Christmas brings a message of "hope, dynamism and sharing".

    22/11/2012 IRAQ
    Power struggle in Kirkuk elicits archbishop's appeal for peace and dialogue
    Tensions are running high between the central government and the Kurdish administration. Baghdad rushes troops to the city to keep in check the peshmerga. Clashes are reported south of the city. Mgr Sako talks about the civilian plight, asking for "security and stability". He also urges political leaders to be "messengers of peace".

    16/01/2007 IRAQ
    Iraq moving towards division, says bishop of Kirkuk
    Mgr Louis Sako voices his concerns over the growing split between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. A divided Iraq will not have peace but may confine Christians in their own ghetto.



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