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Rights group urges Iraqi court to spare Saddam VP

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) [official website; HRW backgrounder] Sunday to spare the life of former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive] citing a lack of evidence tying him to the 1982 Dujail killings for which he is charged. The court reconvenes [JURIST report] on Monday to determine whether Ramadan's life sentence should be abandoned in favor of the death penalty.

Ramadan was convicted [JURIST report; BBC verdict summary] in November in connection with crimes against humanity committed in the town of Dujail in 1982. The IHT Appeals Chamber ruled December 26 in its decision upholding Saddam Hussein's death sentence [JURIST report; JURIST news archive] that the life sentence for Ramadan was too lenient and ordered the trial court to re-sentence him. On Thursday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour filed an amicus brief [JURIST report] with the court arguing that imposing the death penalty would be a violation of Iraq's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Reuters has more.

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