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Bildt condemns Saddam execution

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11:21 CET+01:00
Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt has condemned the execution of Saddam Hussein, which was carried out in Baghdad on Saturday morning.

The former Iraqi dictator was killed by hanging at 4am CET on Saturday, something which provoked expressions of regret in Stockholm.

"Sweden and the European Union are without exception opposed to the death penalty," Bildt said in a statement issued by the foreign ministry.

"I have previously expressed hope that the death penalty against Saddam Hussein would be commuted to life imprisonment.

"Against this background I view it as regrettable that the execution of Saddam Hussein has now taken place," Bildt said.

Bildt said the execution was particularly regrettable as it means that the current ongoing legal action against the former president cannot be concluded. He said that it was in the interests of the Iraqi people and the region to investigate Saddam's attacks against his own people, particularly the Kurds.

"The judicial process against Saddam Hussein is an important part of Iraq's coming to terms with the past. This must now continue through all who have been responsible for the regime's huge and serious human rights abuses being held accountable.

"As important is to start a process of reconciliation that makes it possible for the Iraqi people to deal with the big challenges they face," he said.

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