Nov 1 2013
By Saymaa Adel
Azzaman, November 1, 2013
The Iraqi government is facing growing pressure from various political factions to halt the execution of the defense minister who was part former President Saddam Hussein’s last cabinet.
Lt. Gen. Sultan Hashem was Saddam Hussein’s last defense minister and led Iraqi troops during the 2003-U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Hashem has been sentenced to death but the government has been reluctant to carry the sentence out, fearing a national outcry.
The former defense minister is still highly admired by Iraq’s disparate religious and ethnic factions.
Though a Sunni, he is remember as an ‘honest’ and ‘upright’ Iraqi official during his tenure as governor of the religious city of Najaf and other Iraqi provinces.
On Friday, the head of a powerful Iraq parliamentary bloc, Hamed al-Mutlik, openly called on Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki to turn the death sentence into imprisonment.
There are even calls to have Hashem pardoned and freed.
Iraqi courts have also sentenced other top Iraqi brass who served under Saddam Hussein to death.
But Mutlik said: “These officers were forced to implement military orders as required by military discipline whether they liked it or not.”
If the government wants to go ahead with the execution because the officers killed innocent Iraqi people, then they should face “just and impartial trials,” Mutlik said
He wondered whether those who have been killing innocent Iraqis since the 2003-U.S. invasion will ever face a fair trial.
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