For the second time in two days, the Vatican has expressed opposition to the death sentence handed down to Tariq Aziz, Iraq’s former deputy prime minister.
“The position of the Catholic Church on death penalty is known,” spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement.
The statement went on to say the Vatican hopes that “the sentencing against Tariq Aziz not be carried out, precisely to favor the reconciliation and reconstruction of the peace and justice in Iraq after the great suffering it has gone through.”
Aziz was sentenced to death Tuesday by the Iraqi High Tribunal for his role in eliminating religious parties during Saddam Hussein’s regime.
His family was shocked by the verdict, his daughter told CNN.
They had no idea he was going to be sentenced Tuesday, Zainab Aziz said from Amman, Jordan.
“Until last week, they were hearing new witnesses in this case,” she said, criticizing both the verdict itself and its timing.
“My father served his country for more than 22 years. He delivered himself to the U.S. Army [after the fall of Hussein] because he wasn’t afraid. He didn’t do anything wrong. He served his country,” she said.