Iraqi president: I won't sign death sentence for Tariq Aziz
Iraq's president said he would not give his approval to a death sentence for Tariq Aziz, a former close aide to ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, DPA reported.
"No, I will not sign the death sentence for Tariq Aziz. I will not sign any death sentence - as a social-democrat, I am opposed to that, in principle," Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told the France 24 television network in an interview broadcast Wednesday.
The Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal in Baghdad last month found Aziz guilty of persecution and efforts to "liquidate" Iraqi religious parties, particularly those of Shiite Muslims.
Rights groups have accused the court of having suffered from "political interference" during the trial.
Aziz, a fluent English speaker and once the public face of Saddam's regime, is 74 years old and suffered a stroke in January in a prison in Baghdad. He is believed to be in poor health.
Born into a Christian family in northern Iraq, Aziz served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister under Saddam.