The BBC has reported that Mr. Tariq Aziz has suffered a stroke and that his lawyer fears “he may not live more than a month” following a “cerebral embolism”. The lawyer, Badie Arif Ezzat, has said that Mr. Tariq Aziz is being held in a two square meter cell that was “only fit to keep dogs in”.
Given his apparent health situation and the fact that he has not been charged after giving himself up in April 2003, this is a request for his release from Hans von Sponeck and Denis J. Halliday, former United Nations Humanitarian Coordinators in Iraq (1997-2000).
In keeping with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions and Protocols, Mr. Tariq Aziz, former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq is entitled to humane treatment and should not be further held without charges after three years if incarceration.
At the age of 70 years, in a state of severely diminished health and now what is reported to be a stroke:
we express our distress at the inhumane treatment accorded Mr. Tariq Aziz and ask that he be released immediately by US/Iraqi authorities from custody in the absence of any charges, and be allowed to join his family in a location where adequate medical facilities can be provided.
We also ask that all other Iraqi prisoners being held without charge be released by US/ Iraqi authorities without delay. We likewise ask that all those civilians, journalists, aid workers and other innocents being held in Iraq by those involved in resistance to invasion and occupation also be released immediately.
In addition, we hope, indeed expect, that former and current high ranking officials in Washington and London, as well as Paris, Moscow and Beijing, and elsewhere, who in the recent past have had personal contact and communications with Mr. Tariq Aziz, including the present UN Secretary-General, will join in this request for humane treatment.
Signed: Denis J. Halliday & Hans von Sponeck , former United Nations Humanitarian Coordinators in Iraq (1997-2000)
New York / Muellheim, 27 January 2006