Saddam Hussein Execution Expected Within Month

By David Thibault | July 7, 2008 | 8:17 PM EDT

( - Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator who the United States deposed in its 2003 invasion of Iraq, could be hanged at any time during the next 30 days, following the rejection of his appeal on a conviction of crimes against humanity.

An appeals court in Baghdad Tuesday rejected Saddam's appeal of the Nov. 5, conviction, and according to Agence France-Presse, Appeals Court Judge Arif Shaheen declared that the death sentence against the former Iraqi strongman could be "carried out at any time."

"The appeals court has issued its verdict," Shaheen reportedly stated. "What we have decided today is compulsory."

Saddam, who is 69 years old, was convicted for his role in the deaths of 148 Shiite Muslims from Dujail in 1982. He had survived an assassination attempt the same year.

Saddam is still on trial, along with six other people for allegedly committing genocide against ethnic Kurds in northern Iraq in the 1980s, but that legal matter will not interrupt the carrying out of the death sentence, according to the Iraqi appeals court.

Amnesty International, a human rights group opposed to the death penalty, has reportedly stated that it "is very disappointed about this decision," regarding Saddam. "We are against the death penalty as a matter of principle but particularly in this case because it comes after a flawed trial," the group stated.

Khalil al-Dulaimi, Saddam's top defense attorney, also told Reuters that "if they dare implement the sentence it will be a catastrophe for the region and will only deepen the sectarian infighting" in Iraq.

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