Kurds were denied their day in court

By Kirsty Taylor
Sunday Herald

More than a dozen campaigners met at the Halabja memorial tree in the city's Queen's Park. The tree was planted in 1990 to commemorate the 5000 citizens of the northern Iraqi town who were gassed by Saddam's forces in 1988.

Parents and children held enlarged pictures graphically portraying dead bodies and atrocities carried out by Saddam's regime.

But some Kurds were angered by the premature execution، saying the dictator should have been tried for crimes against the Kurdish people before any punishment was carried out.

Former Kurdish Youth Movement member Peri Ibrahim، 43، said yesterday: "I am unhappy today. I am not unhappy to see him executed but the way they dealt with it was all wrong. The Kurdish had a right to hear him made answerable for the crimes against the Kurdish people.

"I would rather see him in prison to witness Iraq under a democratic regime and even eventually the independence of Kurdistan.

"He should have been made to take personal responsibility for every crime he committed. The Kurdish tale is told against them now and no-one has been held responsible for the crimes against the Kurds such as the Halabja gassing."

But Aziz Othman، a Syrian-born representative of the Kurdish Yekti Party، said that Saddam's death had not come soon enough. "This is a great moment for the Kurds. We have been waiting for this since Saddam was captured. It took too long،" he said.

"Supporters of Saddam in Iraq had hoped the new democratic regime would fail and that one day this man would come back to power. This has finally shown the members of the Ba'ath Party that this will not happen."

Kurdish human rights campaigner Dr Kamal Ketuly had many family members deported to Iran. Some of his relatives were held hostage in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison during Saddam's regime. He said: "It is the end of an era in which a criminal، dictatorial regime ruled and destroyed our country which was the cradle of democracy.

"We are here for those people who are still in Kurdistan."

Waleed Shanki، an Iraqi Arab from Baghdad، said: "The main thing today is that we need to remember the Iraqi people who lost their loved ones under his regime and in the war in Iraq.

"I think it was right Saddam was executed. We support the British point of view against the death penalty but this was a law voted for in the constitution by the Iraqi people and it is right that Saddam be tried under it. It was part of the old constitution.

"He received a fair trial with legal representation، a luxury he did not give to those who suffered under his regime."

December 31، 2006

Source: Kurdish Aspect