Spare Saddam, Clark Urges Bush

Spare Saddam, Clark Urges Bush

( - Deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's life is in President Bush's hands and should be spared, said former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark on Wednesday.

Clark, a member of Saddam's defense team, said the decision Bush makes following an Iraqi court's rejection of Saddam's appeal "will have long-term consequences for the peace and stability of Iraq, and for the rule of law as a means to peace."

Saddam, who was convicted Nov. 5 and sentenced to death by hanging, could be executed anytime in the next 30 days. He is currently in U.S. custody in Iraq, and Bush must approve his transfer to Iraqi authorities to carry out the execution.

Clark reiterated his longstanding criticism of the Iraqi Special Tribunal, the court that tried Saddam and his co-defendants, calling it "notoriously unfair." He also criticized the "so-called appeals court in Iraq, which did not take the time to examine the trail record and defense briefs."

Saddam's defense team had until Dec. 23 to file appeals documents. The court released its decision upholding the conviction and sentence Dec. 26.

Clark said once Saddam and the other defendants are turned over to Iraqi law enforcement, they will be exposed to "summary executions, torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment -- all in violation of U.S. and international law."

He also predicted that Saddam's execution would lead to increased violence in Iraq.

"Executions, if they occur in the midst of present violence, are expected to cause a long-term increase in the level of violence, causing more U.S. and Iraqi causalities," the self-proclaimed pacifist said.

Saddam and six others were convicted of offenses relating to the killing of 148 Shi'ites in a village called Dujail after a failed 1982 assassination attempt.

See Earlier Story:
Keep Saddam in US Custody, Ramsey Clark Pleads (Dec. 21, 2006)

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