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On Air: Is Tariq Aziz a villain or victim?

Nuala McGovern Nuala McGovern | 13:44 UK time, Wednesday, 27 October 2010


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You probably know the name Tariq Aziz. He was the Iraqi foreign minister under Saddam Hussein.

Yesterday, he was sentenced to death by the Iraqi Supreme Court. This was an unexpected change from his previous 27 year prison sentence. The Iraqi High Court said his conviction was in connection with the persecution of religious parties. A heated debate is going on over whether the death sentence is a just one for Aziz.

Iraqi Ahmed Al-Rikabi from Radio Dijla says:

He deserves the death penalty because nobody with honour would be part of Saddam's regime. He has blood on his hands.
Mark Seddon blogs at AlJazeera
So what really lies behind the decision by Iraq's high tribunal to pass a death sentence on Tariq Aziz, long serving Iraqi foreign minister and number two to Saddam Hussein? The decision has caused shock waves around the World, largely because the sentence has the feel of vengeance to it.

James Denselow agrees on his post  Justice or Revenge?

The idea of De-Ba'athification is bread and butter tactics to bolster his (Nouri Al-Maliki's) own powerbase. There is no coincidence that Aziz was found guilty of crimes against Maliki's own Da'wa party and it would seem likely that the former deputy Prime Minister will accumulate several more death sentences for crimes against the Kurds, partners in Maliki's likely coalition, before he finally makes his way to the gallows.

BBC's John Simpson had this to say:

Many Iraqis will also believe that hanging a sick man of 74 will create sympathy for someone who scarcely deserves it.

The Vatican also voiced an opinon. Spokesman Fr. Lombardi:

It is truly to be hoped that the sentence against Tariq Aziz will not be carried out, precisely in order to favor reconciliation and the reconstruction of peace and justice in Iraq after the great suffering it has undergone.

Do you have sympathy for Tariq Aziz? Or do you think his death sentence is deserved?

Victim or villain? Post below.

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