Saddam VP trial unfair:  UN rights expert

Saddam VP trial unfair: UN rights expert

[JURIST] The trial of Saddam-era Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive] was flawed and he should not be executed, a UN Human Rights expert said [press release] Wednesday. Phillip Alston [official profile], appointed [UN press release] as UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in 2004, said judicial misconduct, official statements declaring Ramadan guilty before his sentence, and the admission of evidence without allowing Ramadan to rebut, combined with other procedural irregularities, render Ramadan's sentence illegitimate. Alston also said the appeals process was too rushed to be fair, as Ramadan was given only weeks to appeal, and the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) [official website; HRW backgrounder] considered the evidence for less than a month before upholding the conviction. PTI has more.

The IHT originally sentenced Ramadan to life in prison in connection with crimes against humanity committed in the town of Dujail in 1982 for which Saddam Hussein and two others were sentenced to death [JURIST report] in November, but it resentenced him to death by hanging [JURIST report] on Monday following a December 26 ruling by the IHT Appeals Chamber in its decision upholding Hussein's death sentence [JURIST report; JURIST news archive] that the life sentence for Ramadan was too lenient. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour filed an amicus brief [JURIST report] with the court last week arguing that imposing the death penalty would be a violation of Iraq's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [text]. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] also urged the IHT Sunday to spare the life of Ramadan [JURIST report], citing a lack of evidence tying him to the Dujail killings.