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Hitchens argues against execution of Tariq Aziz

November 09, 2010

The outspoken atheist journalist Christopher Hitchens argues against the execution of Tariq Aziz, the former deputy to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Aziz, who was the only prominent Christian in the leadership under Saddam Hussein, has been condemned to death by an Iraqi tribunal. Hitchens notes that the verdict “is almost the only sign of life to have emerged from Iraqi official circles since the elections of March 7 this year.” The government is not committed to prosecuting war criminals, he argues; the sentencing of Aziz reflects a different purpose.

Tariq Aziz has already been sentenced to a lengthy prison term—in all likelihood, for the remainder of his life—for his part in the major crimes of the regime he served, Hitchens reports. But he now faces the death penalty for another crime: his minor role in efforts to repress a Shi’ite religious faction whose members include Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri al Maliki. The planned execution, Hitchens charges, is political payback.


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