Sunday, January 21, 2007

Italy Foreign Min: EU Must Urge Global Death-Penalty Halt

Italy Foreign Min: EU Must Urge Global Death-Penalty Halt


Italy's foreign minister will call on E.U. countries later this month to come together to push for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty, the ministry said Friday.

After the Dec. 30 execution of Saddam Hussein, Premier Romano Prodi's center- left-government began a diplomatic push to have the moratorium initiative taken up by the U.N. General Assembly. Past lobbying by Italy for U.N. action against the death penalty has been unsuccessful.

The ministry said Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema would urge E.U. countries at a meeting Jan. 22 to agree on a common strategy to help stop executions around the world.Saddam's execution was denounced virtually across Italy's political spectrum, with former premier and conservative opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi calling the killing a political error and Prodi expressing worry that the hanging would fuel more violence in Iraq.

The gruesome and inadvertent decapitation of Saddam's half-brother when he was hanged two weeks later horrified people worldwide.Italy and all other E.U. countries don't permit capital punishment. However, countries including the U.S., Japan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and China have the death penalty.

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