Voice of Saddam: former Iraqi foreign minister Tareq Aziz dies

Published June 5, 2015
Tareq Aziz died in Iraqi hospital Friday aged 79 after many years of poor health.  - AP/File
Tareq Aziz died in Iraqi hospital Friday aged 79 after many years of poor health. - AP/File

NASIRIYAH: Tareq Aziz, who served as the voice of Saddam Hussein's regime, died in Iraqi hospital Friday aged 79 after many years of poor health as a convicted prisoner, a provincial official said.

“Tareq Aziz died in Hussein Teaching Hospital in the city of Nasiriyah, where he was brought when his health deteriorated," said Adel Abdulhussein al-Dakhili, deputy governor of Dhi Qar province, where the former Iraqi foreign minister was jailed.

Dakhili did not specify what Aziz died from, but he had long been in poor health, suffering from heart and respiratory problems, high blood pressure and diabetes.

His family repeatedly called for his release from custody, and in 2011, his lawyer said Aziz wanted then Iraqi premier Nouri al-Maliki to accelerate his execution due to his worsening health.

Aziz was found guilty of “deliberate murder and crimes against humanity" in the 1980s, and was sentenced to death in October 2010.

He was also handed various prison sentences for other crimes.

As Saddam's principal spokesman, Aziz was the only Christian in the now executed dictator's inner circle. He was a recognisable figure internationally whose rise was attributed to unswerving loyalty to Saddam.

Once omnipresent, and instantly recognisable in his trademark thick glasses and neat uniform, Aziz turned himself over to American custody a month after the US-led invasion in March 2003.

Named foreign minister in 1983 and then deputy premier in 1991, Aziz was believed to have wielded little real power over decision making, but was one of the regime's best known figures abroad.

Opinion

Editorial

More leaks
Updated 29 Sep, 2022

More leaks

Recent leaks look more like an inside job than the work of a foreign power.
A depressing winter
29 Sep, 2022

A depressing winter

WINTER is on its way, with a massive gas crunch looming as elevated global LNG prices have eroded the cash-strapped...
Great expectations
29 Sep, 2022

Great expectations

CONSIDERING that the Afghan Taliban have been in the saddle for over a year now, the UN has expressed frustration...
The whole truth
28 Sep, 2022

The whole truth

THE war on truth has never been more relentless than it is today. Authoritarianism is on the rise and purveyors of...
Real-world trolls
Updated 28 Sep, 2022

Real-world trolls

It's reprehensible how PTI supporters now seem convinced that politicians from opposing camps aren't entitled to basic dignity.
Islamabad wildlife
28 Sep, 2022

Islamabad wildlife

PRESERVING biodiversity is low on the list of priorities of both state and society. However, successful attempts at...