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Last Updated: Friday, 9 February 2007, 02:29 GMT
UN appeals against Iraq execution
Former Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yasin Ramadan
Ramadan was originally jailed for life over the Dujail killings
The UN human rights chief has filed an appeal urging an Iraqi court not to sentence one of former leader Saddam Hussein's key deputies to death.

Louise Arbour said executing Taha Yasin Ramadan, Iraqi vice-president until 2003, would violate international law.

Ramadan was jailed for life in November 2006 for his role in the killing of 148 Shia villagers in Dujail in 1982.

But an appeals court ruled that the sentence was too lenient and recommended the death penalty.

Iraq's High Tribunal is to make a decision on the case on Monday.

In a brief to the court, Ms Arbour said that sentencing Ramadan to death would "violate Iraq's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights".

The covenant states that a death sentence can only be imposed if the trial and appeals process meet international standards.

Three of Ramadan's co-defendants, including Saddam Hussein, have already been hanged.

Ms Arbour had called for their death sentences not to be carried out.

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