EU leaders slam Saddam death penalty

Nov. 7, 2006 at 10:25 AM
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BERLIN, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- European leaders have criticized the death penalty issued to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but are pleased that an Iraqi court brought him to justice.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that while it was "right and important" that Saddam had stood trial in Iraq, it was also clear that "there is fundamental skepticism and rejection of the death penalty" in Germany.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was happy that Hussein was convicted, as the verdict highlighted the brutality of his regime. He added that Britain was opposed to the death penalty in general; despite repeated requests from a journalist, Blair did not comment on whether he thought Hussein should be executed.

Blair has been an avid supporter of the Iraq war, and his troops support the occupation of the country.

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi also highlighted his country's opposition to capital punishment.

"Italy is against the death penalty and so even in such a dramatic case as Saddam Hussein, we still think that the death penalty must not be carried out," he said, according to online daily Netzeitung.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero said Saddam Hussein had to "face up to his crimes as any human being, but the EU doesn't think much of the death penalty."

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