WASHINGTON – A U.S. judge refused to stop Saddam Hussein's execution Friday, rejecting a last-minute court challenge by the former Iraqi president.
"Petitioner Hussein's application for immediate, temporary stay of execution is denied," U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said after a hearing over the telephone with attorneys.
Hussein's lawyers filed the court challenge late Friday night, giving the judge just hours to act before the execution was expected to be carried out.
Hussein's attorneys argued that because the former Iraqi president also faced a civil lawsuit in Washington, he had rights as a civil defendant that would be violated if he is executed. He has not received notice of those rights and the consequences that the lawsuit would have on his estate, his attorneys said.
Kollar-Kotelly said U.S. courts to not have jurisdiction to interfere in another country's judicial process. The ruling can be appealed but was issued within an hour of the time Iraqi officials said they expected the execution to be carried out.