From correspondents in Zurich
UN rights chief raises doubts over Saddam trial
Thu Dec 28, 2006 20:11

UN rights chief raises doubts over Saddam trial

From correspondents in Zurich

December 29, 2006 09:17am,23599,20985848-401,00.html

THE UN human rights chief today called for restraint by Iraqi authorities over Saddam Hussein's death sentence, saying there were concerns about the fairness of the original trial.

"The appeal judgment is a lengthy and complex decision that requires careful study," said Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"There were a number of concerns as to the fairness of the original trial, and there needs to be assurance that these issues have been comprehensively addressed.

"I call, therefore, on the Iraqi authorities not to act precipitately in seeking to execute the sentence in these cases."

She said Iraq and the international community had an interest in making sure the death sentence was imposed only after a trial and appeal seen as credible and impartial.

"That is especially so in a case as exceptional as this one," she added.

Ms Arbour also said that, under the terms of international agreements signed by Iraq, Saddam had the right to appeal to "appropriate authorities" for possible commutation or a pardon.

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