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Iraq ex-deputy PM Aziz in hospital after stroke

(AFP)
Filed on January 17, 2010

BAGHDAD - Iraq’s former deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz under Saddam Hussein has suffered a stroke and been moved from jail to a US military hospital, his lawyer told AFP on Sunday.

“He suffered a stroke on Friday and was transferred to a hospital in the US base at Balad,” 70 kilometres (45 miles) north of Baghdad, said lawyer Badie Aref.

“His condition is serious and they will decide today whether he stays in hospital or should be returned to Camp Cropper,” a US-run prison in the Iraqi capital where he has been detained.

Aziz was named deputy premier in 1991 under the regime of executed dictator Saddam Hussein, having previously been foreign minister. He turned himself in to US forces in April 2003 after Saddam was overthrown.

Aziz has reportedly suffered two heart attacks while in custody.

Aref, however, did not specify if the latest stroke was cardiac or neurological.

Aziz, Saddam’s principal spokesman to the outside world for two decades, was sentenced to 15 years in jail for murder in March 2009 in what was the first conviction against him.

He was given an additional seven-year term last August for his role in expelling Kurds from northern Iraq almost three decades ago.


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