IRAQ. PM HOPES FOR SADDAM DEATH SENTENCE SOON
October 18, 2006: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said he hoped legal proceedings against former president Saddam Hussein would be short and that he would be found guilty and sentenced to death soon.
Maliki met Moqtada al-Sadr in the holy city of Najaf and held a joint news conference afterwards with the powerful Shi'ite cleric who heads the Mehdi Army militia and whose followers are in the government. Asked about Saddam's trials, Maliki said: "God willing the trial will not last a long time. God willing the death sentence verdict will be issued soon against the tyrant Saddam and his followers." A verdict is expected as early as November 5 in the first case brought against Saddam, which relates to killings in the Shi'ite village of Dujail in the 1980s.
Maliki, whose Shi'ite-dominated government is battling to keep the lid on increasingly bloody sectarian violence, said executing Saddam would help Iraq. "Definitely with the execution of Saddam and the criminals with him, those who are laying their bets on coming back to power under the banner of Saddam will find their gamble fails," he said at the news conference. Though the verdict in the first trial could come as soon as November 5, any execution could be delayed by appeals and by the up to a dozen other cases the toppled leader could face. (Sources: Reuters, 18/10/2006)