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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 22:52 GMT
Italy urges global execution ban
By David Willey
BBC News, Rome

Romano Prodi
Mr Prodi says no crime can justify one person killing another
Italy will campaign at the United Nations for a global ban on the death penalty, Prime Minister Romano Prodi has said.

The leader of the current centre-left coalition has said no crime can justify one person killing another.

Politicians from both the left and right have been expressing disgust at the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Italy took one of the 10 non-permanent Security Council seats this week.

The Italian ambassador to the UN has already called on the General Assembly to re-examine a document presented for debate last month.


Italy presented proposals for a moratorium on the death penalty at the UN assembly in 1994 and again in 1995.

Last July the Italian parliament approved a cross-party motion urging the government to table yet another moratorium proposal but this came to nothing because of disagreement among Italy's EU partners.

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been among the politicians expressing disgust at the hanging of Saddam Hussein, calling it a political and historic error.

The outcry has also been reflected by almost universal condemnation in the Italian press of the press leaks and videos of the hanging.

The semi-official Vatican daily, L'Osservatore Romano, said the transformation of the final moments of Saddam Hussein's life into a public spectacle was a violation of a fundamental human right.

The Iraqi government has said that Italy has no right to criticise Saddam Hussein's execution when, at the end of World War II, the fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, was killed by partisans and left hanging by his feet in a Milan square to the derision of crowds.

Mussolini's granddaughter, Alessandra, a right-wing MP, joined in the argument, saying she found the killing of Saddam Hussein disgusting and shameful.

Saddam hanged: Reaction in quotes
30 Dec 06 |  Middle East
Execution denounced in world protest
30 Nov 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Italy criticises US execution
15 Sep 00 |  Americas

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