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Rights groups protest Saddam hanging

[JURIST] The execution [JURIST report] of Saddam Hussein Saturday has drawn sharp criticism from leading human rights groups. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch [press releases] both questioned whether the Iraqi appeals court thoroughly scrutinized the guilty verdict [JURIST report] of the trial court, or merely "rubber-stamped" the lower court's decision. The appeals court affirmed [JURIST report] the guilty verdict earlier this week. Both groups also said that the death penalty, which they unequivocally oppose, was particularly suspect as applied to Hussein.

Amnesty International spokesperson Malcolm Smart said that Hussein's trial

should have been a major contribution towards establishing justice and ensuring truth and accountability for the massive human rights violations perpetrated when he was in power, but [it] was a deeply flawed affair. It will be seen by many as nothing more than 'victor's justice' and, sadly, will do nothing to stem the unrelenting tide of political killings.
HRW spokesperson Richard Dicker added: "The test of a government’s commitment to human rights is measured by the way it treats its worst offenders. History will judge these actions harshly." In November, HRW released a report [JURIST report] arguing that procedural and substantive flaws in the Dujail trial rendered the guilty verdict "fundamentally unfair." Reuters has more.

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