Iraqi president says Saddam confessed to crimes

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Tuesday, September 6, 2005

The current Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, said that former president Saddam Hussein confessed to various crimes and killings which were committed during his regime. Some of these cases are currently under investigation.

Mr. Talabani stated that a judge had told him of these alleged confessions, which he revealed he knew about on Iraqi national television. Details are few, but one example of a confessed crime is the mass killing of the Kurds in the late 1980s, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Kurds.

Talabani says that Saddam deserves to be hanged "20 times a day," although he does not wish to sign his death warrant; he wants his vice president, Adel Abdel Mehdi, to do so. According to Talabani, this gesture is not meant to gain power over the courts, "My not signing does not mean that I will block the decision of the court." Talabani is morally opposed to all capital punishment.

Talabani also stated that "There are 100 reasons to sentence Saddam to death."

Iraq seems to be starting a general trend of cracking down on criminals – three were hanged just last week, with possibly more to come.

Saddam's first trial comes October 19, where he will be tried for the mass killings of Shiite civilians in a town in northern Baghdad in 1982. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.