Funeral for former Iraqi FM under Saddam Hussein held in Jordan

Published June 14th, 2015 - 12:06 GMT

Former Iraqi foreign Minister Tariq Aziz is due to buried in Madaba city on southwest of Amman on Saturday, his son Ziad told reporters outside the hospital to where his body was brought.

The body of Aziz arrived in Amman early Saturday, transported in an ambulance to the Arab Medical Centre.

"There are no words to describe these moments. I want to thank the Jordanian government for its help in bringing my father’s body,” the son said, adding that the funeral procession would start at a church in Amman at 2pm to Madaba, 30km from the capital.

Family members, friends were seen outside the hospital grieving.

A number of the former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein supporters gathered outside the hospital, chanting slogans in support of the defunct Iraqi regime and the formerly ruling Baath Party, waving the Iraqi flag and raising pictures of Aziz and former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Ahmad Abu Safiah, one of the supporters, described Aziz as a martyred pan-Arabist hero.

"He is the martyr of the Baath and Arabs. We are proud of this man who is the son of Baath and Arabism and we are proud that he managed to withstand the tough times he’s seen during years of detention," he told Reporters outside the hospital.

Ziad asked reporters, photographers and other people to give his family a moment of peace with the body of the deceased.

"I have not seen my father in 12 years and now I see him in a box,” he said.

Jordan has approved a request by the Aziz family to bury him in the Kingdom, a government official earlier.

Aziz, 79, was Saddam Hussein's staunchest defender in international arenas and the only Christian in the Iraqi leader’s inner circle. He died Friday after suffering a heart attack at a prison in southern Iraq.

Aziz had been in prison since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and suffered a series of strokes. He faced execution for what the court saw a role in the killing of Iraqis.

His family settled in Jordan after Saddam's fall.

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