Iraqi President Jalal Talabani stated on Wednesday he would never sign former deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz's execution order, despite his sentencing to death last month. "No, I will not sign this kind of order because I am a socialist," Talabani told France 24 television.
"I feel for Tareq Aziz, because he's an Iraqi Christian, and he's also an elderly person over 70 years old. That's why I will never sign this execution order," AFP quoted the Iraqi leader as saying.
Talabani has previously said that he is generally against capital punishment. On Wednesday, he said it was time to turn the page on the punishment, barring for some sectarian crimes. "I think that the page of executions needs to be turned, except concerning the crimes committed at the cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and crimes against Shiite pilgrims and holy sites," he said.