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Iraq PM confident of Saddam execution by year-end

[JURIST] Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile] told the BBC Wednesday that he expects Saddam Hussein to be executed before the end of the year [BBC interview], pending the conclusion of the appeal process. Al-Maliki seemed undeterred by the predictions [JURIST report] of chief prosecutor Jaafar Moussawai, who indicated Monday that he expects that an appeals panel would likely rule on Saddam's verdict and sentence in mid-January 2007, setting the stage for his possible execution in mid-February. Iraqi High Tribunal chief investigative judge Raed Juhi has also said that Hussein's execution might be delayed by the appeals process [JURIST report] until early 2007. Article 27 of the Statute of the Iraqi High Tribunal [text, PDF] requires a sentence to be carried out within 30 days of the appeals judgment; Article 27 also precludes any authority, including the president of the Iraqi Republic, from pardoning or reducing the penalties issued by the Tribunal.

Hussein and two co-defendants were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging [AP recorded video] for crimes against humanity [charging instrument, PDF] committed in the Iraqi town of Dujail [JURIST news archive; BBC trial timeline]. Hussein was charged [JURIST report] with killing, torturing and illegally detaining Dujail residents, including 148 Shiites [JURIST report], after an unsuccessful attempt on his life there in 1982. Hussein returned to court [JURIST report] Tuesday as the genocide trial against him resumed for the alleged killing of 100,000 Kurds in the late 1980s during the so-called "Anfal" campaign [HRW backgrounder]. Reuters has more.

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