Saddam Hussein makes point in kangaroo court called the Iraqi High Tribunal. The death sentence imposed on the former president has been condemned around the world.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos.
CTV.ca News Staff
Updated: Fri. Dec. 29 2006 10:34 PM ET
Iraqi television reports that former dictator Saddam Hussein has been executed by hanging, after Iraq's High Tribunal found him guilty of crimes against humanity.
"Television channels, including one run by the U.S., are saying the execution took place shortly before 6 a.m. (Baghdad time)," Reuters Baghdad Bureau Chief Alistair MacDonald told CTV Newsnet.
Top officials had said Saddam would be hanged before 6 a.m. (10 p.m. ET) but no official confirmation has been made.
Saddam, 69, was convicted for his role in the 1982 killings of 148 people in a primarily Shiite town north of Baghdad. The victims had been detained after an attempt to assassinate him in Dujail, northern Iraq.
The court said the former president should be hanged within a month, and officials had hinted the execution would take place in a matter of days.
Edward Peck, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said the execution could actually do more harm than good for the country.
"I don't think this is going to advance America's interests in Iraq at all," Peck told CTV News, arguing it could spark further sectarian violence.
Late Friday, a U.S. judge dismissed a last-minute court challenge by Saddam's lawyers, who had argued the execution should be stayed because Saddam also faced a civil lawsuit in Washington.
The judge said the U.S. courts could not interfere with another country's judicial system, according to AP.
Saddam had been formally in Iraqi custody since his capture three years ago, but physically held by U.S. military guards at Camp Cropper, a military prison near the Baghdad airport.
The administration of U.S. President George Bush had said the timing of the execution was a matter for the sovereign Iraqi government.
"That is a matter for the Iraqi people; we are observers to that process. They are a sovereign government and they will make their own decisions regarding carrying out justice," White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said in Crawford, Texas.
Saddam himself had appeared to be preparing himself for the hanging on Friday. AP reported his half-brothers visited him in his jail cell and he gave them his will.
And in a final farewell letter posted Wednesday on Saddam's former Baath Party website, he urged Iraqis not to retaliate against American citizens.
"I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking," he wrote in Arabic. The Associated Press translated the letter.
Hussein added: "I also call on you not to hate the people of the other countries that attacked us."
Saddam's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, were also to be hanged.
U.S. forces in Iraq are preparing for any attacks following the execution, U.S. Defence Department officials say.
Saddam was also in the middle of another trial, in which he was charged with genocide and other crimes during a 1987-88 military crackdown on Kurds in northern Iraq.
That trial was adjourned until Jan. 8, but experts have said the trial of Saddam's co-defendants is likely to continue despite his execution.
Coalition forces stopped capital punishment in Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, arguing the court system was incapable of rendering fair decisions.
But the Iraqi government reinstated the death penalty after the handover in June 2004, partly in order to have the option of executing Saddam if the High Tribunal found him guilty.
The Iraqi government has since released footage of some executions, showing convicts lined up in a row with black hoods covering their faces. Saddam rarely made executions public during his rule.
With files from The Associated Press
For Immediate Release
Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice
5922 Second Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202
Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice Condemns the Trial and Death Sentence For Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein; Decision to Execute Must Be Reversed!
At the weekly meeting of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), the organization discussed the recent decision by the so-called "Iraqi High Tribunal" to impose the death penalty on the now captured former President Saddam Hussein.
As a result of MECAWI's position that the invasion and occupation of Iraq is an illegal imperialist act and that the current governmental and legal structures in Iraq are thoroughly subservient to the American administration, we must condemn the show trial of President Hussein and his colleagues as well as the death sentence imposed on the former officials. In addition, we are demanding, along with other human rights and anti-war organizations, that the decision to execute the former Iraqi leader be reversed.
In a statement issued by Human Rights Watch on December 27, it declares that: The Iraqi government should not implement the death sentence against Saddam Hussein, which was imposed after a deeply flawed trial for crimes against humanity.... The Appeals Chamber of the Iraqi High Tribunal, which was first reported by Iraq’s national security adviser to have upheld the sentence, should have conducted a thorough legal review of the verdict and then announced its findings."
Therefore MECAWI is calling for vigils outside federal buildings and other places where people gather or work, in the event that the death sentence against Saddam Hussein is not stayed. The peace and social justice movement inside the United States must take a principled stand in upholding international law and the right of self-determination for all peoples.
Moreover, we want to re-emphasize our call for a complete, unconditional withdrawal of all American and allied military forces, private contractors and other hostile interests from the nation of Iraq. We oppose the continued funding of this illegal occupation by Congress, which has already cost the taxpayers $2 trillion, the deaths of 3,000 troops and the wounding of 30,000 others. A recent Lancet medical journal report found that over 650,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the American invasion and occupation.
We believe that the resources utilized to carry out the occupation of Iraq should go toward re-building cities like Detroit and to provide, food, affordable housing, quality education, health care and senior services to people across the United States. The foreign policy of the country should be based on peace, international law and the mutual respect among peoples.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2006
16:36 MECCA TIME, 13:36 GMT
Saddam execution 'within hours'
Saddam's execution does not represent true justice for many Iraqis
Saddam Hussein is only a few hours way from execution, his lawyers and Iraqi officials hinted on Friday.
Khalil al- Dulaimi, Saddam's defence lawyer, told Reuters: "The Americans have notified us that they have handed over the president to the Iraqi authorities.
"They told us the president is no longer under the authority of the American forces and they requested us not to go to Baghdad," he said.
Najib al-Nuaimi, another defence lawyer, had earlier told Al Jazeera that he believed that the toppled president would be executed on Saturday.
Reuters quoting a key court official in Baghdad said Iraq's government had told him to be ready to attend the hanging of Saddam Hussein between 5.30am and 6am (02:30-03:00 GMT) on Saturday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he had been sworn to secrecy, told Reuters that a government official telephoned to tell him that he would be taken to the place of execution in time. The court official is among those who must, by law, attend any execution.
The government has been meeting US officials to determine if a hanging can take place on Saturday and it was still not clear if a final decision had been made or whether court officials were being gathered simply as a precautionary measure
An AP report, also quoting an unnamed Iraqi official, said that Saddam could be executed before 6am Baghdad time (03:00 GMT) on Saturday.
"The Americans called the defence team to pick up his personal belongings," al-Nuaimi said.
"All these indications show he will probably be executed tomorrow morning, on the first day of Eid," al-Nuaimi, a former justice minister of Qatar, said.
Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, said that there could be "no delay" in carrying out the execution.
An aide confirmed the content of the prime minister's remarks, reported by state television, and said he made them to relatives of victims of Saddam's oppression.
"Whoever rejects Saddam's execution would be insulting the martyrs. After the court upheld the sentence no one can overrule the death sentence against the criminal Saddam," said a statement from al-Maliki’s office.
"There will be no review [of the sentence] or delay in carrying out the execution against the criminal Saddam," said al-Maliki.
But some members of the Sunni minority say an execution may increase alienation among their community.
Some Kurds would also like to see Saddam convicted of genocide in the Kurdish north.
Al-Dulaimi, who led Saddam's defence team until he was sentenced on November 5, said: "The Americans called me and asked me to pick up the personal effects".
An appeals court has upheld Saddam's death sentence for crimes against humanity and said he should hang within 30 days.
US military and embassy spokesmen dealing with the issue have stressed the need for secrecy over the arrangements.
Although legally in Iraqi custody, US troops keep guard over Saddam.
And although Iraqis will carry out the execution, it also seems likely that US forces will stay on hand throughout for fear that opponents of the former leader could turn it into a public spectacle.
One of Saddam's lawyers said the former Iraqi leader bade farewell to two of his brothers, who are also held at the US army's Camp Cropper near Baghdad airport.
"He was in very high spirits and clearly readying himself," said Badie Aref, after the 69-year-old Saddam met his half-brothers.
"He told them he was happy he would meet his death at the hands of his enemies and be a martyr, not just languish in jail."
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies.
Baath Party Statement
To the American Administration: A warning to anyone who
harms President Saddam Hussein and his comrades.
The Arab Baath Socialist Party
Our party has already warned the American Administration
against carrying out the order to execute President Saddam
Hussein and his comrades and has affirmed that that would
be the most serious of the red lines that the American
Administration must not cross. Today after the
confirmation by the so-called appeals court of the verdict
of execution of the President and his comrades, our party
warns once again of what the execution of this sentence
will mean for the situation in Iraq and for America
itself. The whole world knows that the final say is in the
hands of the American Administration and not in the hands
of the stooge government in Baghdad. The most recent proof
of that is the arrest by American forces of two Iranian
emissaries who came to Iraq at the invitation of Talibani
whom America calls the president of Iraq!
The American Administration must be clear about the
1. The one who holds primary responsibility for any harm
that might be done to the President [Saddam Hussein] is
the American Administration because it is the final
decision maker and not the puppet government in Baghdad.
Therefore the theatrics that have been called a trial are
nothing but America?s way of putting the onus of the crime
of executing [Saddam Hussein] on the stooge government.
2. The execution of the President [Saddam Hussein] and his
comrades will make further negotiations between the
Resistance and the Baath on the one hand and the
occupation on the other impossible; the US forces in Iraq
will be regarded as hostages to be slowly destroyed and
not allowed to withdraw peacefully.
3. The Baath and the Resistance are determined to respond
with all means and in every place that will hurt America
and its interests.
4. We reiterate our warning to Iran and in particular to
its real president Khamenei and urge him to consider and
study this situation and not cause any more Iraqi blood to
be shed because our response will be in the heart of Iran
and will extend to its head.
5. As to those lackeys who were charged with playing the
roles of judge and appeals court, the people of Iraq will
bring them to justice from wherever they might flee and no
place will be safe for them. Those who protect them will
be held directly responsible. They are traitors to their
homeland by all internationally recognized standards
because they have served the occupation and were tools in
its hands, carrying out their dirty work against the
people of Iraq and its legitimate national leadership.
6. Our Party affirms that the execution will not weaken
the armed revolution but will only inflame it further and
expand its scope, adding new recruits to it while placing
on the shoulders of the American Administration the
responsibility for the killing of even more of their
7. Carrying out the verdict of execution can only be
regarded as an American step to increase the unrest and
aggravate further the deterioration of services in Iraq
after near unanimity has been reached among its people
expressed in various telegrams of Iraqi tribal shaykhs,
popular and trades union organizations representing all
shades of the Iraqi people who have called for the return
of the President [Saddam Hussein] to power as the one
guarantee of an immediate return of security and stability
to Iraq. Therefore, carrying out the execution can only be
interpreted as America?s insistence that the chaotic
situation continue to worsen.
Masses of our great Iraqi people,
These are the days of the decisive confrontation. The
occupation whose plans have collapsed and failed wants now
to complete its sabotage activity before it is expelled by
planting the seeds of acts of blood revenge among Iraqis
that will go on for decades. The practice of killing
simply on the basis of the religious identification listed
on people's ID cards is a clear sign of what this American
plan consists of. It is a plan in which Iran is directly
The implementation of the execution is also a
part of that plan because America will be departing
defeated and humiliated from Iraq tomorrow, but it will
leave the stooges it has commissioned to commit crime in
Iraq. If they flee, they will be brought to justice
because America will toss them into the trash can after
they have finished up the criminal activity they have been
ordered to carry out. We call on the masses of our people
to be vigilant and ready to meet the demands of the
situation if the execution is carried out. We call on all
Iraqi patriots to confront this issue because it does not
concern the Baath Party alone, but all of Iraq, since the
President is the legal president of Iraq and his execution
would be the fruit of his sincerity for Iraq and his
refusal to abandon its interests and Iraqi Arab identity.
We call on the Arab masses in their political parties and
popular organizations and those governments that are
concerned with Arab destiny to take a unified stance
against this measure which will never serve the Arab
Nation but will only be of service to Iran, colonialist
America, and world Zionism that has never and will never
forget that Saddam Hussein was the first one to strike it
with strategic rockets, putting an end to its theory of
security. It would also be because he was the one Arab
president who continued to uphold the rights of Palestine
and the Palestinian people, refusing to bargain over them
in return for staying in power.
He took on a heavy burden by refusing to conclude any agreement with America and Israel at the expense of the cause of Palestine and Iraq's economic independence, which is the material basis for any
Let us sharpen our forces and prepare ourselves for
decisive battles in the near future, with the help of God.
May the banner of rescuing the President and his comrades
fly high and strong in the skies of Iraq and the Arab
Long Live Saddam Hussein, a symbol of the struggle,
steadfastness, dignity, and courage of the Arab Nation!
Long live the heroic Iraqi Resistance, the great hope for
the liberation of Iraq from the occupation!
Long live the Unity of all the jihadi fighting
organizations in Iraq!
Shame on America and its lackeys!
Long live the unity of the Arab patriotic forces!
Iraqi Regional Cultural and Informational Office,
26 December 2006.
Translated by Muhammad Abu Nasr