Comments on Death Penalty for Saddam

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Saturday, December 30, 2006; 9:38 AM

-- Some comments on the execution of Saddam Hussein:

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"Saddam Hussein's execution comes at the end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops. Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq, but it is an important milestone on Iraq's course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain and defend itself, and be an ally in the war on terror." _ President Bush.

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"Saddam was treated with respect when he was alive and after his death. Saddam's execution was 100 percent Iraqi and the American side did not interfere." _ National Security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie.

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"An execution is always tragic news, reason for sadness, even in the case of a person who is guilty of grave crimes." _The Rev. Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Holy See.

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Saddam's execution punishes "a crime with another crime. ... The death penalty is not a natural death. And no one can give death, not even the state." _ Cardinal Renato Martino, Pope Benedict XVI's top prelate for justice issues.

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"The test of a government's commitment to human rights is measured by the way it treats its worst offenders. History will judge these actions harshly." _ Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's International Justice Program.

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"Saddam is paying the price for murdering tens of thousands of Iraqis. This is an unprecedented feeling of happiness. ... Nothing matches it, no festival or marriage or birth." _ Abu Sinan, a resident of Sadr City, Baghdad's impoverished Shiite slum.

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"The country is being plunged into violence and is essentially on the edge of large-scale civil conflict. The execution of Saddam Hussein may lead to the further aggravation of the military-political atmosphere and an increase in ethnic and religious tension." _ Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin.

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"This is an unfair verdict and if Saddam is executed or not ... he will remain a symbol and no one can delete it, neither the Iraqi government nor the Americans." _ Muhssin Ali Mohammed of Tikrit, Saddam's hometown.

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"He got his last prayer. He got his last meal. I'm assuming he was probably able to talk to his family. And that's something my husband didn't get and something thousands of other soldiers didn't get." _ Stephanie Dostie, whose husband, Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Christopher Dostie, was killed by an explosive device a year ago.

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"Given the crime blamed on Saddam, it is unfair if George Bush is not also put on an international tribunal. Saddam was executed for killings 148 people, Shiite Muslims, while Bush is responsible for the killing of about 600,000 Iraqis since the March 2003 invasion." _ Fauzan Al Anshori of the militant group of Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia.

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"Saddam Hussein was a brutal tyrant and murderous dictator. Now it is time for the people of Iraq to work to reconcile their differences and to heal the wounds of the past. Only that process will end the violence that has prevented Iraq from moving forward." _ Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

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"We are against the death penalty. However, what I think is important about this is to recognize that this trial of Saddam has been handled by the Iraqis themselves. ... It does give us a very clear reminder of the total and barbaric brutality of that regime." _ British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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"It will not increase our moral authority in the world. ... Saddam's heinous crimes against humanity can never be diminished, but he was our ally while he was doing it. ... Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth will make us blind and disfigured. ... Saddam as a war trophy only deepens the catastrophe to which we are indelibly linked." _ the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

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"It is not a great day for democracy and democrats. Barbarity has to be fought by other means than barbarity. There were other ways to punish the abominable acts of Saddam Hussein." _ Louis Michel, European Union commissioner for development and humanitarian aid.

© 2006 The Associated Press