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Italy Says It Will Push for Universal Ban on Death Penalty


Italy says it will campaign at the United Nations for a global ban on the death penalty after images of the hanging of Iraq's former dictator shocked people worldwide.

Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Tuesday that his government will use Italy's new seat in the U.N. Security Council to push for a "universal moratorium" on capital punishment. Italy joined the council on January 1 for a two-year term.

Italian politicians of all political affiliations expressed disgust at Saddam Hussein's execution.

Iraq's government reacted by accusing Italy of hypocrisy. It cited Italy's 1945 public execution of fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Partisans killed the dictator and hanged him upside down in a Milan square.

More than 80 U.N. member countries signed a non-binding declaration against the death penalty in December.

Italy and all other European Union countries do not permit capital punishment.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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