U.S. military hands over Tariq Aziz to Iraqi authorities

21:50, July 14, 2010      

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The U.S. military handed over dozens of detainees, including Saddam Hussien's ex-deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, to Iraqi authorities, an official said Wednesday.

"The U.S. military handed over Tariq Aziz and some 55 detainees of Saddam Hussien's aides to the Iraqi side," the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The handover has occurred during the past three days, the official said.

"They have been transferred to a prison run by the Iraqi Ministry of Justice and they will be treated according to the Iraqi law," the official added, without saying which prison the prisoners have been transferred.

The announcement came a day before the U.S. military hand over Iraqis the Camp Cropper, the last U.S.-run internment facility, in which the U.S. military held some high value detainees such as the ousted president himself and some of his top lieutenants.

Aziz was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail for crimes against humanity over the killing of dozens of Iraqi merchants in 1992, and again was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in the ethnic forced displacement of Kurds in northern Iraq during Saddam's rule.

He is the only Christian in Saddam's Muslim regime and was known as a fierce American critic after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent 1990-1991 Gulf War.

The latest prisoners' handover is part of U.S. plan to cut its troops in Iraq to 50,000 soldiers by Sept. 1, before the final withdrawal of all U.S.-troops from the country by the end of 2011, according to a pact signed between Baghdad and Washington late in 2008.

Source: Xinhua


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