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Iraq’s Tariq Aziz laid to rest in Madaba

By Muath Freij - Jun 13,2015 - Last updated at Jun 13,2015

Mourners carry the coffin of former Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz in Madaba on Saturday (Photo By Muath Freij)

AMMAN — Former Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz was buried in Madaba city, southwest of the capital, on Saturday. 

The body of Aziz arrived in Amman earlier in the day, transported in an ambulance to the Arab Medical Centre.

Around 1,000 Jordanians and Iraqis attended a mass held in St Mary of Nazareth Church in west Amman to pray for Aziz, who served as foreign minister under Saddam Hussein, and later attended his funeral at a cemetery in Madaba, some 30km southwest of Amman. 

Supporters of Aziz and the former Iraqi president, who was removed in the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, carried their photos and waved the Iraqi flag, chanting slogans expressing their sympathy and support.

Mohammad Subahi, an Iraqi residing in Jordan, came to attend the mass and pray for Aziz's soul. 

“We lost a beloved person. The stance of Jordan is really an honourable one,” he said, noting that Aziz cannot be described in words. 

“He is a true human being... he was devoted to his principles despite the conditions he faced at prison,” Subahi added.

Ziad, Aziz’s son, thanked Jordan for facilitating the transport of his father’s remains from Iraq.

The former Iraqi minister, 79, was Saddam Hussein’s staunchest defender in international arenas and the only Christian in the Iraqi leader’s inner circle. 

He died on June 5 after suffering a heart attack and had requested to be buried in Jordan, his lawyer said last week.

Aziz had been in prison since the 2003 US invasion and suffered a series of strokes. He faced execution for what the court saw as a role in the killing of Iraqis.

His family settled in Jordan after Saddam’s fall.

Ayed Amairah, a Jordanian, said Aziz “was a symbol for all Arabs”, and had always defended them.

At the cemetery in Madada, members of Aziz’s family were seen grieving as people were carrying his coffin. 

Ziad thanked all Arabs at the cemetery for their support and feelings with his family.  

 

“There are no words to describe these moments. I want to thank the Jordanian government for its help in bringing my father’s body,” he said outside the hospital where his father’s body was brought earlier in the day.

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