Saddam Hussein to be hanged in 30 days

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

National security adviser for Iraq, Mouwafak al-Rubaie, has confirmed that Saddam Hussein is to be executed within 30 days of losing his appeal at the High Tribunal Court. Mr. al-Rubaie said: "The appeals court approved the verdict to hang Saddam." Following the announcement, approximately 20 people were killed and 12 people injured in Baghdad, in a bomb explosion and a mortar attack.

The decision requires ratification by the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani who personally opposes the death penalty. However President Talabani has given legal permission for one of Iraq's two vice-presidents to sign death orders.

Mr. Hussein was first sentenced to death on November 5 when he was convicted of murdering 148 Shi'ite's in Shi'ite village, Dujail, following an assassination attempt. Mr. Hussein claims that those killed were found guilty in an Iraq court of law. Others who were involved will also be hanged, those people include Mr. Hussein's half-brother and chief of intelligence, Barzan Ibrahim and head of the Revolutionary Court in Iraq who issued the death orders against the Shi'ites, Awad Hamed al-Bander. Taha Yassin Ramadan, former vice-president of Iraq, had been given life imprisonment but an appeals court found that was lenient and have asked the High Tribunal Court to give Mr. Ramadan the death sentence.

Scott Stanzel, spokesman for the White House, said that the decision was an "important milestone in the Iraqi people's efforts to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law. The Iraqis deserve praise for continuing to utilise the institutions of democracy to pursue justice. Saddam Hussein has received due process and legal rights that he denied the Iraqi people for so long, so this is an important day for the Iraqi people."

Raed Juhi, spokesman for the High Tribunal Court, said: "The Iraqi judicial system would ensure that Saddam is executed even if Talabani and the two vice presidents do not ratify the decision. We'll implement the verdict by the power of the law."

In December 2003, Mr. Hussein was found hiding in a hole north of Baghdad with a pistol which hadn't been fired.

During the trial, which was televised all throughout Iraq and the Middle East, Mr. Hussein was kicked out of the courtroom for repeatedly giving harangues. The others also given the death sentence showed up during the trial with only underwear on and sat with their backs to the judges. Also during the trial, three lawyers acting on behalf of the defense and one witness were murdered.