Vatican spokesman denounces Saddam Hussein's execution as tragic

Iran Materials 30 December 2006 12:55 (UTC +04:00)

(AP) - The Vatican spokesman on Saturday denounced Saddam Hussein's execution as "tragic" and expressed worry it might fuel revenge and new violence.

The execution is "tragic and reason for sadness," the Rev. Federico Lombardi said, speaking in French on Vatican Radio's French-language news program, reports Trend.

In separate comments to the station's English program, Lombardi said that capital punishment cannot be justified "even when the person put to death is one guilty of great crimes," and he reiterated the Catholic Church's overall opposition to the death penalty.

Executing Saddam "is not a way to reconstruct justice" in Iraqi society, the spokesman said. "It might fuel the spirit of revenge and sew seeds of new violence."

Lombardi expressed the hope that leaders "do everything possible" so that "from this dramatic situation ways might open to reconciliation and peace."

In an interview published in an Italian daily earlier in the week, the Vatican's top prelate for justice issues, Cardinal Renato Martino, said executing Saddam would mean punishing "a crime with another crime."