Vatican Seeks to Halt Execution of Iraq's Former Foreign Minister Aziz

The Vatican has asked Iraq not to carry out the hanging of its former foreign minister Tariq Aziz.

The 74-year-old Aziz, a former top aide of Saddam Hussein, was found guilty by the High Criminal Court “of the liquidation of members of religious parties” and sentenced to hang, al-Iraqiya television channel said.

“The Catholic Church’s position on the death penalty is known,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in an e-mailed statement. The Vatican will adopt diplomatic channels available to try and stop the execution from taking place, he said.

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