KK’s heart bleeds for Saddam

Kaunda, a close friend to Saddam Hussein who was in the US when the verdict was passed, said that it was a disaster to him that such a judgement had been passed at the instigations of US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Bair.

Kaunda’s aide James Mtonga confirmed from Lusaka in a telephone interview that the “old man (KK) says it is disaster that the two Bs (Bush and Blair) wished Hussein dead.”

Kaunda was quoted as saying he had noticed that the two and a few other leaders were happy with the sentence, a thing he found unacceptable.

“They went looking for weapons of mass destruction, they did not find them and went ahead to destroy that nice country. I am very sorry indeed that the court in Iraq passed that decision. I am very sad for the two B’s (Bush and Blair) … they started the war, it’s a terrible thing,” said Kaunda.

He said while Saddam Hussein had managed to keep the Sunnis and Shiites at peace, Bush and Blair had managed to unleash them on each other hence the bloody civil strife taking place in Iraq.

Kaunda, who in 2003, before the US and its allies invaded Iraq, personally travelled to Iraq to talk to Hussein and verify the existence of the WMDs said should Hussein be hanged, there would be more bloodshed in Iraq.

On Sunday, Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging over the death of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail following an assassination attempt on him in 1982.

He has since appealed against the sentence.

The appeal process for the former Iraqi leader and six co-defendants – two of whom were sentenced to death, one to life in prison and three to 15-year jail terms – is expected to take only a few weeks.

If the sentences are upheld, the executions must be carried out within 30 days of the decision.

Saddam Hussein was back in court on Tuesday when a separate trial for alleged atrocities committed against Iraqi Kurds was to resume.

Some legal experts have argued that the so-called Anfal killings trial should be allowed to reach a verdict before Saddam Hussein is executed.

But Iraqi officials say the hanging would not be delayed artificially to allow this to take place.

In Iraq and across the world there have been mixed reactions over the death sentence.

November 2006
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