[JURIST] Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak [official website; BBC profile] spoke out against the pending execution of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] Thursday, saying it could push Iraq into even greater violence. Mubarak, believed to share the views of many Arab leaders, told Egyptian newspapers that hanging Hussein "will transform (Iraq) into blood pools and lead to a deepening of the sectarian and ethnic conflicts." Although leaders in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Libya [JURIST news archive] have mainly remained quiet after Hussein's sentencing, Syria [JURIST news archive] has similarly voiced objection to it, noting it was rendered with occupying US troops present in the country. AP has more.
Meanwhile in Europe Thursday, former Conservative foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind [official profile] accused the Bush Administration of timing Hussein's guilty verdict to coincide with midterm elections. Rifkind said on BBC One, "I think he was convicted several months ago and…I deeply suspect it was requested by the US as an attempt to help influence these elections. It didn't work and it shouldn't have been tried." The White House has vehemently denied playing a role in deciding when verdict would come down, and Rifkind acknowledged he had no specific evidence for his suspicions. The Guardian has more.