Iraq’s former foreign minister Tariq Aziz - who is a Christian - has made a plea to the Vatican for financial assistance to his family, his lawyer, Badi Izzat, told the Arab broadcaster, Radio Sawa. Izzat said he had passed on a letter from Aziz to a French Catholic priest, Father Benjamin, who spent years in Iraq as a missionary and a vocal opponent of the economic sanctions imposed on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Aziz’s wife, Zureida, and his two sons fled to Jordan during the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam.
Since then Aziz’s family has experienced ‘economic hardship’ Aziz claims. His wife appealed to the late Pope John Paul II in September 2003 to help win his release from US custody, saying he was not responsible for the crimes of Saddam’s regime.