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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Amnesty International Criticizes Saddam's Executions

Human rights group Amnesty International is criticizing the recent execution of former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein.

"Amnesty International has long documented the massive human rights abuses carried out under Saddam Hussein's rule. The organization hasconsistently called for Hussein to be held accountable through fair trial proceedings, and strongly contests that his execution symbolizes justice served," says Larry Cox, executive director, Amnesty International USA.

"The rushed execution of Saddam Hussein is simply wrong," Cox continues. "It signifies justice denied for countless victims who endured unspeakable suffering during his regime, and now have been denied their right to see justice served. It is a failed opportunity to establish the rule of law in Iraq,and raises concerns that egregious flaws during Hussein's trial proceedings will now set a strong precedent against a fair and independent judiciary. It will doubtless have a devastating impact on other related trials, as the key witness who could most compellingly shed light on the chain of command will have been silenced. Finally, Amnesty International opposes the death penalty, regardless of method, in all cases, and regards it as the ultimate, irreversible human rights abuse."

Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death in Iraq following a lengthy trial. The former strongman was ousted during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and was captured the following year.

Amnesty International also cites concern that Saddam Hussein's death could inflame the ongoing sectarian violence in Iraq.

"Amnesty International is concerned that Hussein's execution may inflame already volatile sectarian divisions, and urges all parties to protect the human rights of civilians in Iraq," Cox says.

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