PRIME Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has emphasised the European Union’s rejection of the death penalty, after former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was condemned to death. “Like every citizen, (Saddam) must be held accountable for his actions, but the European Union is not in favour of the death penalty,” Zapatero said at a press conference in Montevideo on Sunday.

Zapatero, who pulled Spanish troops out of Iraq soon after his election victory in 2004 said it was necessary to “change the strategy” in Iraq due to the “failure of the military intervention”.

“There is no more democracy in Iraq, there is no stability, no peace, no order, and terrorism has not been halted either,” Zapatero said as he spoke of “a daily average of 100 people dead” in Iraq and a total of 600,000 dead since the beginning of the US-led invasion.

Saddam and two of his co-defendants were on Sunday sentenced to death for killing of 148 men and boys in the Iraqi city of Dujail in 1982.

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