Iraqi president petitioned against death penalty

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Monday that while he had once signed an international petition against the death penalty, his signature was not needed to carry out the death sentence against Saddam Hussein. "I am among the people who signed the petition against the death penalty," he told a conference at the Institute for the Arab World in Paris, where he is on a six-day visit. It was unclear which petition he was referring to. The president's office must ratify the death sentence handed down against Saddam on Sunday, but Talabani insisted Monday that his personal signature was not necessary. Talabani has opposed the death penalty in the past, but found a way around it by deputizing a vice president to sign an execution order on his behalf - a substitute that has been legally accepted.