Former Saddam confidant says he`ll die in prison

The man who once served as the intel face of Saddam Hussein`s regime predicted that he`ll die in jail.

Updated: Sep 05, 2010, 23:46 PM IST

Baghdad: The man who once served as the
international face of Saddam Hussein`s regime predicted
that he`ll die in an Iraqi jail, citing his old age and
lengthy prison sentence.

During a brief interview with The Associated Press
today, Tariq Aziz said that considering he is 74 and faces
more than two decades in prison for crimes related to his role
in the former regime, he expects to die behind bars.

"I have no future. I have no future. I`m 74 years old
now," he said. "So I have no future."

Aziz served for years as Saddam Hussein`s foreign
minister, establishing an international reputation as the
defender of the late dictator`s regime.

He surrendered to US forces about a month after the war
started in March 2003.

He was held at an American prison in Baghdad until the
US handed over control of the facility this July to the Iraqi
government. Aziz was handed over as well.

The English-speaking Aziz, who was a rare Christian in
Saddam`s inner circle, has been convicted in two cases
stemming from the Saddam-era.

Last year, he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years
for his role in the 1992 execution of 42 merchants found
guilty of profiteering. He also received a 7-year prison
sentence for a case involving the forced displacement of Kurds
in northern Iraq.

Aziz is currently on trial in a long-running case in
which he is accused of being part of a campaign targeting
members of the Shiite Dawa Party, of which Prime Minister
Nouri al-Maliki is a member.

When Aziz was transferred from US to Iraqi custody in
July, his family said they were worried for his health in the
Iraqi-run prison.

Aziz has suffered several strokes, and during recent
court appearances has shuffled to and fro in the courtroom
with the aid of a cane.

"I`m sick and tired but I wish Iraq and Iraqis well,"
he said, declining to discuss the nation`s politics.

PTI