Hamas condemns sentence

The ruling Palestinian movement Hamas has condemned the death sentence handed down to Saddam Hussein, recalling the help the deposed Iraqi leader gave to the Palestinian people.

    Saddam is popular among Palestinians

    "We as the Palestinian people support whoever supports our people and president Saddam Hussein was one of those," Fawzi Barhum, Hamas  spokesman, said.


    Highly popular in the Palestinian territories, Saddam gave money to the families of people killed by Israeli forces and relatives of bombers when the intifada, or uprising, broke out in September 2000, until he was toppled by the US-led invasion in 2003.


    "There was not a fair trial and those who judged him were those who participated in the affair of the Abu Ghraib prison and crimes in Palestine," Barhum said.


    "The trial took place under American occupation of Iraq," Barhum said.


    An Iraqi court on Sunday sentenced Saddam to death by hanging for approving the death sentences of 148 Shia villagers in the village of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in 1982, for being members of the then banned al-Dawa party.


    Al-Dawa was backed by Iran during the Iraq-Iran war.


    During the 1991 Gulf War, Palestinians rejoiced when Baghdad fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel. The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was one of the rare Arab leaders who publicly supported Saddam when he invaded Kuwait in 1990.


    UN demand


    Louise Arbour, the UN human rights chief, called for a moratorium on executions after Saddam was sentenced to death.


    Arafat (R) supported Saddam 's
    invasion of Kuwait 

    She also called for the rights of defendants to a fair appeal to be "fully respected".


    "A credible appeals process is an essential part of fair-trial guarantees," she said in a statement.


    "This is particularly important in this instance, in which the death penalty has been imposed.


    "Those convicted today should have every opportunity to exhaust their appellate remedies in a fair way, and whatever the outcome of an appeal, I hope the government will observe a moratorium on executions."


    "Guaranteeing the right of a fair trial of persons accused of major human rights violations is key to consolidating and  strengthening the very important process of ensuring justice and countering impunity that Iraq has embarked upon."

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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