Vatican may plead mercy for Hussein’s collaborator
Pope Benedict XVI has received a hand-written letter from Tariq Aziz, former collaborator of Saddam Hussein, requesting asylum in Italy. What is interesting is that according to Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, an official at the Vatican Secretariat of the State, the Holy see can “ask to save people’s lives in the case of capital punishment, and it frequently does do this.” Frequently? So, the Vatican doesn’t necessarily claim “Justice has been done!” (as many Catholics did when Hussein was executed) in cases of capital punishment? Could it be perhaps because the Holy see knows very well that God is the only judge and the only one who can bring true justice?
If the Holy See intervenes to ask that a close collaborator of Saddam Hussein’s be spared the death penalty, it wouldn’t be without precedent, said a Vatican aide. Tariq Aziz, 70, Iraq’s former deputy prime minister, and a Chaldean Catholic, has asked Benedict XVI through a handwritten letter to act on his behalf requesting asylum in Italy while he awaits trial in Iraq.
The letter was delivered in January by Giovanni Di Stefano, Aziz’s Italian lawyer, to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state. Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, an official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, told ZENIT that no decision has been made public regarding the note, but did say that the Holy See can, in principle, “ask to save people’s lives in the case of capital punishment, and it frequently does do this.”
Monsignor Formenti added that the case was complicated by the fact that Aziz collaborated with Saddam. Aziz is accused of ordering the executions of Shiite Muslims who rebelled in 1991. Monsignor Formenti added that “the Holy See can always ask for mercy.” Aziz has appealed to the Vatican on two other known occasions since his arrest by U.S. coalition forces. (Read the complete story at Zenit.org)
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