Former Iraqi deputy premier Tareq Aziz in danger, his lawyer says
Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz is in fear for his life after being handed over to Iraqi authorities by the US, his Amman-based lawyer said in remarks to Al-Jazeera TV, dpa reported.
Badeea Aref, in an interview with the Doha-based broadcaster, appealed to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to allow him to visit Iraq to meet Aziz and obtain from him "very important" information.
Aref said that Aziz called him on the telephone to tell him that he was transferred by the US troops to Kazmiah prison in Baghdad which is controlled by Iraqi forces and that he was in "bad health."
The lawyer then cited Aziz as telling him, "I am sure they are going to kill me either directly or indirectly by poison because they know I have very important data and they are concerned over the possibility of leaking it."
Aref said Aziz had asked him to come to Iraq for a meeting to provide him this important information.
"In my turn, I appeal to Prime Minister al-Maliki, regardless of our differences, to permit me to travel to Iraq to meet Aziz," the lawyer said.
Aref said that Aziz had received good treatment from "sympathizers" in the US forces whom he declinded to identify.
Aziz, who also served as Iraqi foreign minister, handed himself to the US forces after their invasion of Iraq in 2003 and was sentenced in 2009 to 15 years in jail for murder and seven more for his role in expelling ethnic Kurds from northern Iraq.