Last updated: 17 August, 2011

Iraq’s Aziz asks for speedy execution

Iraq’s former deputy premier Tareq Aziz has called on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to accelerate his execution because of his worsening health, his lawyer told AFP on Wednesday.

“His health condition is very poor and he asked me to convey a message to Mr Maliki, calling on him to execute him as soon as possible,” Badie Aref told AFP via telephone.

“He said this is his wish now … He asked this because of his dangerous health condition. He is suffering.”

Aref said Aziz was being treated well in prison, but was suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, prostate problems and stomach ulcers.

Aziz, a Christian and a close confidante of now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein, was sentenced to death in October after having been found guilty of “deliberate murder and crimes against humanity.”

The Vatican, the European Union and several Western governments have called on Baghdad for clemency for Aziz.

President Jalal Talabani, who must approve the execution order before it is carried out, has said he would not sign it.