"Iraq" postpones execution of Saddam aides
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- Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 20:13:42 GMT
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"Iraq" postpones execution of Saddam aides
Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit
AFP via Yahoo - Jan 4, 2007
Iraq postpones execution of Saddam aides
by Sabah Jerges
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq has postponed executing two of Saddam Hussein's
henchmen amid international pressure following the ousted dictator's bungled
and much criticised hanging.
Iraq also detained two justice ministry guards Thursday for questioning in
connection with the secret filming of the final moments of the former
Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam's half brother and former intelligence
chief, and Awad Ahmed al-Bandar, the head of a revolutionary court, were to
have been hanged on Thursday.
A senior official from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's office, speaking on
condition of anonymity, said the execution was postponed "due to
Baha al-Araji, an influential Shiite lawmaker from radical cleric Moqtada
al-Sadr's parliamentary bloc, said: "I am sure it will be done on Sunday."
Another Shiite deputy, Sami al-Askari, said the executions will be carried
out after the end of state holidays for the Eid al-Adha festival on
Saturday. He did not give a precise date.
"The executions will be after the holidays," said Askari, who was present
at Saddam's hanging on Saturday as Maliki's representative.
Askari said there was also a view among some members of the government that
the two former regime officials be hanged after the appeals court decides
on a prosecution request to send another Saddam aide to the gallows.
The prosecution has requested that Taha Yassin Ramadan, former vice
president, also be hanged. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but the
prosecution has suggested that this was insufficient.
On Wednesday, UN spokeswoman Michele Montas said United Nations Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon was opposed to the death penalty.
"The secretary general strongly believes in the wisdom of Article 3 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states everyone has the right
to life, liberty and security of person," she said.
"He fully endorses the call made today by (UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights) Louise Arbour for restraint by the government of Iraq in the
execution of the death sentences imposed by the Iraqi high tribunal," she
The US military has expressed concern over the manner in which Saddam was
hanged, saying it would "have done things differently", and Britain has
condemned the leaking of the video.
And in the latest implied criticism of the first hanging, White House
spokesman Tony Fratto said: "We expect Iraqi officials to handle their
business with appropriate care. I don't think there's anything more we can
Saddam, Barzan and Bandar were found guilty on November 5 of ordering the
judicial murder of 148 Shiite men and boys from the village of Dujail in
the 1980s. They were sentenced to death for crimes against humanity.
Saddam's execution five days ago has angered members of Iraq's Sunni
minority and triggered criticism from observers who felt he was humiliated
minutes before being put to death.
A grisly unofficial video released after Saddam was hanged showed one of
the members of the execution party shouting the name of Sadr, a bitter
opponent of Saddam.
The two-and-half minute film shot on a mobile telephone camera has spread
like wildfire on the Internet and triggered angry outbursts within Iraq's
Sunni Arab community and from international leaders.
One of those present at the execution could be heard shouting "Moqtada!
Moqtada! Moqtada!" at a sneering Saddam, inspiring some observers to
compare the execution to a sectarian lynching.
"Basically they were doing their congregational prayers and supplications,
and they mentioned at the end of their supplication the name of Moqtada,"
said National Security Advisor Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, defending the execution.
"I can't see where is the humiliation, to be quite honest. Moqtada,
Moqtada, Moqtada is not a dirty word, not an obscene word. They were not
Rubaie also explained why the executioners and Iraqi officials danced
around Saddam's body after the hanging.
"This is the tradition of the Iraqis -- when they do something they dance
around the body and they express their feelings," he said.
"What is wrong with that? If that upsets the feelings of some of the Arab
nations and Arab rulers, I think: 'The best of luck to them'.
"To the best of my knowledge and belief after I left the scene I was proud
of what had happened and it was played by the book, but when the video was
released I saw some wrongdoing and this has to be addressed," he said.
Askari said two justice ministry guards had been held for questioning.
"Two guards who are employees of the justice ministry have been held, but
there are no charges against them yet," he told AFP.
Meanwhile, Iraq's bloody insurgent and sectarian violence continued
Thursday as at least 23 people were killed in a series of attacks,
including 13 in a car bomb explosion in Baghdad.
Of those killed at least four were policemen.
Copyright © 2007 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.
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