Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bush: Saddam Must Be Executed; U.S. PRESIDENT SAYS IRAQI DICTATOR SHOULD PAY ULTIMATE PENALTY FOR HIS CRIMES

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bush: Saddam Must Be Executed; U.S. PRESIDENT SAYS IRAQI DICTATOR SHOULD PAY ULTIMATE PENALTY FOR HIS CRIMES

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES LANGTON

By James Langton in New York and Bob Graham in Baghdad

PRESIDENT Bush will support the execution of Saddam Hussein.

He believes the former Iraqi dictator should face the "ultimate penalty" for his crimes. "He is a torturer, a murderer, and they had rape rooms, and this is a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ultimate justice,'' Mr Bush said in a TV interview last night. A White House spokesman later confirmed that the President was referring to the death penalty.

Mr Bush also said Saddam's fate will be decided "not by the President of the United States, but by the citizens of Iraq in one form or another".

The President's comments are likely to mean that Tony Blair will be put on the spot in the Commons today to declare whether he agrees that Saddam should be executed.

The Prime Minister is personally opposed to the death penalty but Downing Street signalled on Monday that he would not raise objections if that was the verdict of a trial.

Some Labour MPs plan to use Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons today to urge Mr Blair to take a stand and use his influence as America's closest partner in Iraq to ensure Saddam is imprisoned rather than killed.

In his TV interview, Mr Bush also answered allegations by Saddam's eldest daughter, Raghad, that her father had been drugged after his arrest at the weekend by American troops.

"I don't know if he was sedated or not," Mr Bush said: "I do know that this country doesn't torture."

Now living in exile in Jordan, Raghad claimed her father had been drugged to stop him fighting Mr Bush said he could "understand a daughter being concerned for her dad". He added: "I mean, presumably somewhere in this hard barbaric heart there was some love for his child."

But he went on: "He showed no love, particularly to those that dared express an opinion other than his. …

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