First Published: 2013-01-23


Tareq Aziz appeals for Pope’s help to end his misery


Saddam Hussein's ailing former deputy premier is suffering from depression, plans to ask Pope to call for his speedy execution.


Middle East Online

In total depression

BAGHDAD - Tareq Aziz, the late Saddam Hussein's ailing former deputy premier now on death row, is suffering from depression and plans to ask the Pope to call for his speedy execution, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Badie Aref said Aziz, a Christian, believed he was being treated well in prison, but was suffering from ill health and simply wanted an end to his "misery."

"He is in total depression," Aref said by telephone after meeting with Aziz earlier on Wednesday.

The lawyer said Aziz had told him: "I will now write an appeal to the Pope. Even though I have never met him in person, I will call for him to end my misery, because I would prefer to be executed rather than stay in this condition."

Aziz, a close confidante of now-executed dictator Saddam, was sentenced to death in October 2010 after having been found guilty of "deliberate murder and crimes against humanity."

The Vatican, the European Union and several Western governments have called on Baghdad for clemency.

Aziz has been in prison since surrendering in April 2003, days after the fall of Baghdad in the US-led invasion of Iraq.

His family has repeatedly called for his release on health grounds, particularly after he suffered a heart attack in late 2007.

He also suffers from high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes and ulcers.


Iran wants closure of nuclear probe in order to implement deal

Bashir takes another step on path of rapprochement with Gulf countries

Iran General ‘seriously wounded’ in rocket attack in Syria

Saudi women begin first-ever campaigns for public office

Iran bars orchestra performance over women musicians

Kuwait names new acting Oil Minister in cabinet reshuffle

Number of ISIS executions hits more than 3,500 in Syria alone

‘Russia’ air strikes kill at least 18 civilians in Ariha town in Syria

EU offers Turkey cash, closer ties at migration summit

Turkey seeks to ease tensions with Moscow

Turkey protests against journalist arrests

Corbyn criticised over Syria air strike rejection

Saudi women begin first-ever election campaign

Russia prepares retaliation against Turkey

Tunisia to rethink anti-IS strategy

Cameron pushes for Britain to join Syria air strikes

Erdogan denies buying oil from IS

Lavrov says no war with Turkey after 'planned provocation'

Tunisia under state of emergency

Missing Iranian diplomat found dead in Saudi

Heavy Russia raids at site of Syria plane crash

Tunisia declares state of emergency after terrorist attack in heart of capital

Bahrain calls HRW torture report 'misleading'

Syria, Russia foreign ministers set Moscow talks

Rival Libya tribes sign peace deal to end months of fighting

Turkey reveals new cabinet of Erdogan allies

Turkey downs Russia Su-24 fighter jet on Syria border

Hopes fade away as Sudan peace talks break without deal

At least 6 dead in Libya bomb attack

Somali pirates seize Iran fishing boat with 15 crew

ISIS suicide bombers kill four in assault on Sinai hotel

Kerry visits Israel with scant hopes for major breakthrough

Hollande heads to Washington to seek support for war on ISIS

Brussels extends terror alert as US issues worldwide travel warning

UAE blames Islamists for delay in military operation in Taez

Egypt kills 5 Sudanese migrants near border with Israel

Anti-Muslim hate crimes rise 300 percent in Britain

Russia eases restrictions on nuclear cooperation with Iran

Gulf leaders to hold annual summit on December 10

Ex-Gathafi Minister arrested over murder of UK policewoman

UK boosts military spending as pressure grows to join anti-ISIS strikes

Israel bars Palestinians from West Bank settlement bloc

Iraq suspends northern flights due to danger posed by Russia missiles

Syria army advances against ISIS in central province of Homs

Pro-Kurdish leader escapes assassination attempt in Turkey