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Tariq Aziz, ex-Saddam regime official, now in Iraqi custody

By the CNN Wire Staff
Tariq Aziz testifies during Saddam Hussein's trial in 2006.
Tariq Aziz testifies during Saddam Hussein's trial in 2006.
  • Tariq Aziz was a face of the Hussein regime
  • The transfer comes as U.S. closes Camp Cropper
  • Aziz has been hospitalized frequently during his jailing
  • Tariq Aziz
  • Iraq
  • Saddam Hussein

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Tariq Aziz, formerly Saddam Hussein's top diplomat, who has been in U.S. custody in Iraq, has been transferred to the custody of the Iraqi government, an Iraqi official said Wednesday.

Aziz was handed over on Monday from Camp Cropper and is being held at Kadhimiya prison in Baghdad, Boshu Ibrahim, deputy Justice minister, told CNN.

This move comes as Camp Cropper, the last major U.S. detention facility in Iraq is being officially handed over to the Iraqi government on Thursday.

Serving a 15-year sentence, Aziz was part of a transfer of more than two dozen former Saddam Hussein regime members, 26 on Monday and three last month.

Aziz, who has been hospitalized a number of times while in custody, has been in poor health, and his lawyers and family members have voiced their concerns about his handover to the Iraqi government and how we would be treated while in their custody.

Ibrahim said that the Ministry of Justice detention facilities provide health care for inmates and Kadhimiya prison has a clinic. He said if needed the detainees could be taken to medical facilities elsewhere.

Aziz was one of the best-known faces of Hussein's government, serving as deputy prime minister from 1981 to 2003 and as foreign minister for part of that time. In March 2009, he was sentenced in connection with the 1992 executions of 42 merchants.

He was captured by U.S. forces in April 2003, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Hussein regime.

According to Boshu, being former regime members will not affect the way Aziz will be treated by Iraqi authorities.