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Baghdad Under Curfew for 2nd Day, Bush Praises Saddam Verdict

Baghdad is under curfew for a second day as Iraqi security forces try to prevent a sectarian backlash to the death sentence imposed on former leader Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqi government says it plans to lift the ban on vehicle traffic in Baghdad and neighboring Diyala and Salaheddin provinces Tuesday morning. The curfew also shut down Baghdad's international airport.

Iraq's High Tribunal convicted Saddam of crimes against humanity Sunday, and sentenced him to hang for ordering the killing of Shi'ite villagers in Dujail in 1982.

President Bush praised the outcome of the trial as a milestone for democracy and the rule of law in Iraq. In London today, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said his government opposes the death penalty for Saddam or "anybody else," but that the trial was a reminder of the "brutality" of Saddam's regime.

Saddam's sentence is subject to an automatic appeal. His case is expected to be handed over to an appeals panel in the coming days.

Iraqi officials say there is no time limit on the deliberations of the panel. If the judges uphold the death penalty, it must be carried out within 30 days.

Two of Saddam's co-defendants also were sentenced to death Sunday, including his half brother (Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti), and the former chief judge of Saddam's Revolutionary Court (Awad Hamed al-Bander).

Former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan was sentenced to life in prison, and three other former Ba'ath party officials received sentences of 15 years in prison.

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