UK's Beckett: Britain urged Iraq to spare Saddam

British officials in Baghdad urged the Iraq government to spare Saddam Hussein on the day before his execution, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said in a letter disclosed Thursday. Beckett said high-level representations were made in the Iraqi capital on Dec. 29, but she did not reveal specific details of the clemency plea. "I can assure you that the British government repeatedly made clear to the Iraqi government its opposition to the death penalty in all cases," Beckett said in a letter to lawmaker Andrew Mackinlay, published Thursday. "This included lobbying at the highest level in Baghdad on 29 December, the eve of the execution."