US court rejects habeas petition of Saddam VP facing Iraqi death sentence

[JURIST] The US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] ruled [PDF order] Tuesday that it has no jurisdiction to block the Iraqi death sentence for former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive]. Ramadan was convicted [JURIST report; BBC verdict summary] by the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) [official website] in November and originally sentenced to life in prison. The IHT Appeals Chamber later deemed the sentence too lenient and ordered the death penalty [JURIST reports] for Ramadan.

Following the example of suspected Iraqi terrorist and US citizen Shawqi Omar [JURIST report], Ramadan brought a petition [JURIST comment] for a writ of habeas corpus before the federal court. Basing his claim on the fact that he is presently in US custody, Ramadan claimed that he would be subject to harm if turned over to Iraqi officials. Judge Paul Friedman ruled that regardless of whether Ramadan was in US custody, a US court lacks jurisdiction over an alien who is detained overseas and convicted by a foreign court. Friedman stated from the bench that granting the petition would constitute an improper collateral review of another court's decision. AP has more.

 

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