Italian premier condemns death sentence on Saddam

Italy's premier condemned Wednesday the death sentence against Saddam Hussein, reiterating Italy's opposition to capital punishment while acknowledging that the ousted Iraqi leader had committed many crimes. "While I don't want to minimize the crimes committed by Saddam Hussein, and the ferocity with which he governed during his regime, and while respecting the autonomy and legitimacy of Iraqi institutions, I must express the Italian government's, and my personal, firm opposition to the death sentence," Prodi said in a statement. Italy is a firm opponent of capital punishment, which is banned throughout the EU. Since 1999, the lights illuminating Rome's ancient Colosseum have turned from white to gold every time a death sentence is commuted somewhere in the world or a country abolishes capital punishment.