CAIRO: Iraq's new president, Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani said that he opposed the idea of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein being sentenced to death.
"I am among the lawyers who signed an international petition against the death penalty in the world and it would be problem for me if Iraqi courts issued death sentences," he told Asharq Al Awsat newspaper.
The new head of state, who spent much of his life fighting Saddam's regime, stressed however that he could not decide on a pardon individually if the deposed president was sentenced to death.
"The issue of a possible pardon is the responsibility of the presidential council and I cannot make an individual decision," he said.
Kurds were among the communities who suffered the most under the iron-fisted rule of Saddam. Among the main charges facing him and his henchmen is the brutal Anfal campaign against the Kurds carried out in the 1980s.
Meanwhile, Iraq's newly-elected deputies tried yesterday to bring some order to their meetings but were quickly mired in debates on rough Iraqi police treatment and when and where to meet.
Deputies, who were meeting for the sixth time since the 275-member body was inaugurated on February 16, shelved a vote to sanction the outgoing government of Iyad Allawi for corruption and the hiring of former regime elements.
A Mosul city council member and nine others were killed in attacks across Iraq yesterday, police and hospital sources said. Ajeel Muhsin Ajeel, a member of the local government council in the northern city of Mosul, was killed in a drive-by shooting.
Another Iraqi was killed and three policemen were wounded in a grenade attack targeting a police convoy in the volatile city. Two businessmen working with the US army in Mosul were also gunned down.
Also, a member of the Shi'ite political party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, was killed and another was wounded in a drive-by shooting in southern Baghdad. South of the capital, three Iraqis were gunned down near Iskandariyah as they waited for their cars to be repaired on a road just south of the capital.
In Farhad, a national guardsman was killed and three others were wounded when a roadside bomb hit their car 110km south of the oil city of Kirkuk, police said. Sunni religious cleric Sheikh Mujahed Mohammed Taha was shot dead by unknown gunmen on Saturday in Mahmudiyah, an area rife with strife.
Meanwhile, medical sources said they received the bodies of two Iraqi soldiers killed by rebels near the Iranian border in Kut, 172km south of the capital.
Abu Musab Al Zarqawi's militant group said it kidnapped and killed a police chief of the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, according to an Internet statement.
Zarqawi said it was determinated to continue its jihad after Iraq's new president proposed an amnesty for insurgents.
"The agent of America, Jalal Talabani, announced a so-called amnesty for the mujahedeen, whom he called on to take part in political life," said the statement on an Islamist website.