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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 December 2006, 19:56 GMT
In quotes: Reaction to Saddam sentence
A Iraqi court has upheld the death sentence handed down in November to former leader Saddam Hussein.

The failure of his appeal means the former dictator can now be hanged at any time in the next four weeks.

News of the court's decision has been met with conflicting reactions around the world.

WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN SCOTT STANZEL

Today marks an important milestone in the Iraqi people's efforts to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law.

Saddam has received due process and the legal rights that he denied the Iraqi people.

The Iraqis deserve praise for continuing to utilise the institutions of democracy to pursue justice.

UK FOREIGN OFFICE SPOKESMAN

As the prime minister has made clear, it [Saddam's execution] is entirely a matter for the independent Iraqi tribunal.

Our position is unchanged. We are opposed to the death penalty as a matter of principle but the decision is one for the Iraqi authorities.

RICHARD DICKER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Imposing the death penalty, indefensible in any case, is especially wrong after such unfair proceedings.

That a judicial decision was first announced by Iraq's national security adviser underlines the political interference that marred Saddam Hussein's trial.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SPOKESWOMAN

Amnesty International is very disappointed about this decision.

We are against the death penalty as a matter of principle but particularly in this case because it comes after a flawed trial.

ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER ROMANO PRODI

While not wishing to play down the crimes... I cannot but express the firm opposition of the Italian government - as well as mine - to a death sentence. As I reiterated again today [Wednesday] at the cabinet meeting, Italy is opposed to capital punishment, always and in all cases. It is a general principle that I reiterated firmly also at the United Nations.

INDIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN NAVTEJ SARNA

It is our hope that the sentence will not be carried out and that the former president's life would be spared.

We would also hope that no steps are taken which might obstruct the process of reconciliation and delay the restoration of peace in Iraq.

GERMAN GOVERNMENT DEPUTY SPOKESMAN THOMAS STEG

The government, like other countries in the European Union, is not only sceptical about the death penalty, it is categorically opposed to the death penalty... but it is allowed under Iraqi law.

There is nothing to indicate that the trial, including the appeals process, did not take place in accordance with the rule of law and legal principles in operation in Iraq.




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