Catholic World News News Feature
French cardinal asks clemency for Saddam Hussein June 21, 2006
Cardinal Paul Poupard called for clemency for former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the Italian Ansa news agency reports.
"Human life is always inviolable," the French prelate said. Citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the cardinal-- who is president of the Pontifical Council for Culture-- said that "no one can claim any right over the life and death of another."
The right to life is "a universal principle, and there is no exception," Cardinal Poupard said. "God is master of life and death."
The cardinal spoke out as the trial of Saddam Hussein neared its conclusion, with Iraqi prosecutors calling for the death penalty. The former Iraqi ruler is charged with the massacre of civilians in the town of Doujail.
A final verdict in the trial is not expected until September. Even if he is sentenced to execution, Saddam Hussein is unlikely to be put to death at any time in the foreseeable future. He still faces separate trials on charges of having presided over a genocidal campaign against Kurds and the repression of Shi'ite Muslims.