Latest Iraqi executions "cruel justice"

The official Vatican newspaper has described as "cruel justice" the hangings in Baghdad of Saddam's henchmen, Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, as the Vatican reiterates its opposition to the death penalty.

"Following Saddam Hussein's execution, turned into a spectacle that attacked the person's dignity, urgent appeals were heard from different institutions in the direction of dialogue and reconciliation," a front page article in the Italian edition of L'Osservatore Romano says according to a Zenit report.

"However, for the moment it does not seem that this 'change of course' has taken place."

Earlier, the director of the Vatican Press Office, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, had expressed the Vatican's opposition to the death penalty at the execution of former Iraqi dictator Saddam.

"A capital execution is always tragic news," he said, "a reason for sadness, even if it is about a person who has been guilty of grave crimes."

"To kill the guilty one is not the way to rebuild justice and to reconcile society. The risk also exists that, on the contrary, the spirit of vengeance will be fuelled and new violence be sown.

"In this dark time of the life of the Iraqi people, one cannot but hope that all those responsible will make every effort so that in a dramatic situation channels of reconciliation and peace will finally be opened," Fr Lombardi concluded.

Meanwhile, the International Herald Tribune reports that former Iraq Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, a Chaldean Catholic, has asked the Italian government and the Vatican to act as guarantors on his behalf so that he can live in Italy while he awaits trial in Iraq, his Italian lawyer said on Tuesday.

Giovanni Di Stefano said he was planning to apply for bail for Aziz, who was also Iraq's foreign minister and who is being detained at a US military base in Baghdad.

"I've asked the Italian government and the Vatican to guarantee for him to live in Italy in peace," Di Stefano told reporters. "He will not be sentenced to death, but he will die in prison if he's not released."

Aziz's family also previously asked Pope Benedict XVI to intervene with US authorities for his release to allow him to receive medical care abroad.

"This man needs urgent medical attention and he is not getting it," said Di Stefano, who said he met with Aziz last week.

Iraq Executions Cruel, Laments Newspaper (Zenit, 16/1/07)
Lawyer for Tariq Aziz asks Italy, Vatican to help Aziz live in Italy while he awaits trial (International Herald Tribune, 16/1/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Saddam Hussein (Wikipedia)
Tariq Aziz (Wikipedia)
Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti (Wikipedia)
Awad Hamad al-Bandar (Wikipedia)

Don't cry for Saddam: Pell (CathNews, 15/1/07)
Vatican leads protests against Saddam hanging (CathNews, 7/11/06)
Cardinal calls for Saddam clemency (CathNews, 23/6/06)
Cardinal says Saddam treated like a cow (CathNews, 17/12/03)
Tariq Aziz's wife appeals to Pope (CathNews, 3/9/03)
Baghdad bishop defends captured Aziz (CathNews, 28/4/03)

17 Jan 2007

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