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Saddam prosecutor says appeals court likely to rule mid-January

[JURIST] Jaafar Moussawai [JURIST news archive], chief prosecutor in the trial of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] for crimes against humanity in Dujail, said Monday that an appeals panel would likely rule on his verdict and sentence in mid-January 2007, setting the stage for his possible execution in mid-February. His comments echoed some made Sunday by Iraqi High Tribunal chief investigative judge Raed Juhi, who indicated at a press conference shortly after the reading of the verdict 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.

AP reported Monday that Iraq's three-person Presidency Council, composed of President Jalal Talabani [official website, in Arabic; JURIST news archive] and two vice-presidents has already agreed to sign a death warrant for Saddam if it is presented to them. Talabani has repeatedly said he is personally opposed to the death penalty and will not sign himself [JURIST report], but he has delegated his signing authority to the Shiite vice-president, who will join with his Kurdish counterpart to make the warrant legally binding for all three. AP has more.

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