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Iraqi MP urges amnesty for Saddam-era defense minister

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jubouri on Thursday called for a “special amnesty” for Sultan Hashim, who served as defense minister under former President Saddam Hussein, with a view to promoting “national reconciliation”.

Speaking at a press conference in Baghdad, al-Jubouri said that prominent personalities and tribal leaders from Mosul and other parts of Iraq had requested a “special amnesty” for Hashim, who remains in prison despite a deteriorating health condition.

Al-Jubouri promised to raise the issue with the president, prime minister and judicial officials.

According to the parliamentary speaker, an amnesty for Hashim would “help create a positive atmosphere in the run-up to [May 12 parliamentary] polls that will set the stage for our country’s future”.

Hashim had served as defense minister when Hussein’s government was overthrown in 2003 on the back of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

He turned himself in shortly afterward but was sentenced to death in 2007 -- although the sentence was never carried out -- after being convicted of committing “genocide” against Iraq’s Kurds.

Since 2003, many of the Iraqi officials who had served under Saddam Hussein have been executed, although a number of others remain behind bars.