[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers [official website] Leandro Despouy [JURIST news archive] has urged the Iraqi government not to execute Saddam-era Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive] because of "grave shortcomings" in his legal process. Despouy is the second UN special rapporteur to make such a request. Last month, Phillip Alston [official profile], UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said judicial misconduct, official statements declaring Ramadan guilty before his sentence, and the admission of evidence without allowing Ramadan to rebut, combined with other procedural irregularities, rendered Ramadan's death sentence illegitimate.
The appeals chamber of the Iraqi High Tribunal (IHT) [official website] on Thursday upheld the death penalty for Ramadan rejecting his appeal [JURIST report] of the sentence handed down in the Saddam Hussein Dujail crimes against humanity trial. Ramadan was convicted [JURIST report] by the IHT alongside Saddam Hussein in November and originally sentenced to life in prison. The IHT Appeals Chamber later deemed the sentence too lenient and ordered the death penalty for Ramadan. IHT Judge Mounir Haddad said Thursday that a nine-judge panel had decided unanimously to uphold Ramadan's death sentence. Ramadan's lawyers have appealed to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to commute his sentence, and have called on the US general commanding the Multi-National Force in Iraq not to hand him over to the Iraqis for execution. PTI has more.