Lebanon News

Rai to press for release of former Iraqi minister

File - Lebanese maronite patriarch Beshara Rai (C) leaves after an open-air mass led by Pope on May 25, 2014 at the Manger Square outside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank Biblical town of Bethlehem. (AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI)

BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai will intervene to secure the release of the former Foreign Minister of Iraq Tariq Aziz at the request of his son, the Central News Agency reported Monday.

Ziyad Tariq Aziz visited Rai in Bkirki and asked the prelate to intervene and ask that Iraqi authorities release his father, who he said was in critical condition due to old age.

The son also said his father, the only Christian who was part of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle, was in a coma state.

Aziz also relayed to Rai a message from the Iraqi Chaldean patriarch, who the son said had visited the former Iraqi official in prison.

Rai promised Aziz to intervene once again – the Lebanese patriarch had pleaded to Iraqi authorities to release the official during his visit to Baghdad in 2011.

Despite repeated calls to release Aziz, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes he committed during Saddam’s reign, Iraq has refused to set him free.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 03, 2014, on page 3.




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