Try Iraqi PM Maliki, Aziz family says

AMMAN, Jordan, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- The Iraqi courts should be investigating Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and not Tariq Aziz, his son said after his father was sentenced to hang.

Aziz was sentenced to death for his alleged role in the 1980s killing of Shiites, including a leading founder of the Dawa party, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Sadr, the father-in-law of anti-American cleric Moqtada Sadr.


Ziad Aziz, the eldest son of the former deputy prime minister, said the court ruling was an act of revenge against by Dawa leaders in Iraq, including Maliki.

Aziz told London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat that the Dawa party is seeking revenge after it failed to kill Tariq Aziz in 1980.

"The court, which was supposed to be fair and impartial, should have tried those who tried to assassinate my father in 1980 and the leader of the Islamic Dawa party and that is Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, rather than sentencing an innocent man who is the victim of religious parties to death," he said.

Leaders from the Vatican, Moscow and Greece have called on the Iraqi courts to call off the hanging of Aziz, who was the only Christian member of the Saddam Hussein regime.


U.S. authorities, who were in custody of Aziz until earlier this year, said the matter is in the hands of the Iraqis, however.

The former minister, who suffered a stroke in January, has less than 30 days to appeal his sentence, though family members said he is resigned to his fate.

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