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Saddam Foe May Lead New Iraq
(Saturday, February 26, 2005)
The man likely to be Iraq's next president, Jalal Talibani, has a moral dilemma over a possible death sentence for former dictator Saddam Hussein.
As a former Kurdish guerrilla commander, Talibani was particularly despised by Saddam to the point where Saddam once offered amnesty to every Kurdish fighter except him.
Now, with the Kurds securing a strong second place in elections last month and the victorious Shiite having chosen Ibrahim al-Jaafari as prime minister, Talabani, 71, is the favorite for the presidency, The Times of London said.
If Saddam is convicted of war crimes -- including the slaughter of some 182,000 Kurds -- as president, Talabani would sign his execution warrant. But that creates a problem.
"Because as a lawyer, I signed an international appeal against executions and now this gentleman will be sentenced to death, and Iraqi people want to sentence him, to kill him. What can I do?" Talabani said.
War-crimes trials for Saddam Hussein and 11 of his Baathist Party cohorts will begin within the next two to four weeks, a U.S. government official told the Christian Science Monitor.
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