Former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan will be hanged Tuesday, according to Iraqi legal sources quoted by wire services Monday afternoon. The Iraqi government has scheduled the execution despite defense lawyers' contention that the government must wait at least 30 days after sentencing to execute a defendant. Ramadan, found guilty with Saddam Hussein of crimes against humanity by the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) in November for his role in the reprisal killings of 148 Shiites at Dujail, lost an appeal of his sentence last week. He was originally given a life sentence, but after intervention by the appeals panel the trial court in February ordered the death penalty.
Following the failed appeal Ramadan's Rome-based lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano sent a letter to Gen. David Petraeus, commanding general of the Multi-National Force Iraq, urging him to intervene and prevent Ramadan's transfer from US to Iraqi custody. Di Stefano has also petitioned Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who has expressed opposition to the death penalty, to intervene and commute Ramadan's sentence. In an e-mail to JURIST late Monday, Di Stefano, formerly one of lawyers representing Saddam Hussein, said he had already moved to prosecute Saddam trial chief judge Rauf Rasheed Abdel-Rahman in the UK after he was alleged to have sought asylum there, and would "prosecute any and all that have been involved in the execution of my clients."
Last week, UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Leandro Despouy urged the Iraqi government not to execute Ramadan because of "grave shortcomings" in his legal process. In February, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Phillip Alston also called on the government to suspend the execution because of judicial misconduct.