[JURIST] A lawyer for Tariq Aziz [Wikipedia profile] says that an international petition has been started calling for the release of the former Iraqi Foreign Minister and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, currently being held by the US in Iraq without charge and with no prospect of immediate trial. Aziz turned himself in shortly after the fall of Baghdad to US forces in March 2003. His family, who were allowed to telephone and visit him [JURIST report] last month for the first time, say he is sick and has lost some 33 pounds in custody that his lawyers characterizes as not meeting European human rights standards. The petition was launched several weeks ago by two of Aziz's French lawyers to draw attention to his case. Aziz, the only Christian in Hussein's upper echelon, is a fluent English-speaker and became famous in the West from the mid-1980s as the public face and voice of the Saddam regime. AFP has more.