Top UN envoy congratulates Iraq on capturing footballs Asian Cup

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative, Ashraf Qazi, said in a statement that “the determination and ability that Iraqis brought to the game was a reminder that Iraq possesses so much potential.” He also urged Iraqis “to come together to realize it in other aspects of the nation’s life.” Last week, the Special Representative condemned two bomb attacks reportedly claiming the lives of more than 50 football fans after the Iraqi team’s semi-final victory. In a related development, Mr. Qazi – recalling previous statements urging the abolition of the death penalty in Iraq – deplored the execution of a man convicted of participation in the August 2003 attack on United Nations Headquarters in Baghdad which killed Sergio Vieira de Mello and claimed the lives of 21 others. Awraz Abdul-Aziz Mahmoud Sa’id, also known as Abu Umar Al-Kurdi, was convicted to death by the Iraqi Central Criminal Court on 30 March 2006 after being convicted for several terror-related offences. His death sentence was upheld by the Court of Cassation last August and subsequently ratified by the Presidency Council. In a statement issued yesterday, Mr. Qazi “stressed the importance of fair trial principles that must be applied during criminal proceedings in the context of the fight against impunity, and in accordance with Human Rights Treaties to which Iraq is a signatory.” The UN rejects the death penalty, including in cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The Special Representative also repeated his hope that the Iraqi Government will prevent further executions from taking place. 30 July 2007Congratulating Iraq’s football team on its victory in the Asian Cup, the senior United Nations envoy in Baghdad today urged the people of the war-torn country to realize this potential for victory in other aspects of their national life.

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