Saddam to be executed immediately, buried secretly, no monument
by Jay Deshmukh
Tue Dec 12, 6:41 AM ET
Saddam Hussein and two top aides convicted with him will be executed immediately after an appeals court confirms their sentences and could be buried in secret, an Iraqi official has said.
A senior Iraqi government official said Tuesday he expected the judicial panel studying the ousted dictator's appeal to confirm death sentences on Saddam, his half brother Barzan al-Tikriti and a former judge, Awad Ahmed al-Bandar.
"We are considering the possibility of executing the three, Saddam, Barzan and Bandar at one time on the same day," the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity because the court is supposed to be independent.
"We may bury Saddam at a secret location," he said.
"His body may later be handed over to his relatives, as under Muslim rituals we can exhume the body after it is buried. But one thing the government will ensure is that there is no memorial built for Saddam anywhere in Iraq."
Saddam was sentenced to death by hanging on November 5 for ordering the execution of 148 Shiites from the village of Dujail after he escaped an assassination bid there in 1982.
His half-brother and former intelligence chief Barzan was also sentenced to death, along with Bandar, chairman of the so-called Revolutionary Court which oversaw the Shiites' executions.
Saddam's former vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan received a life sentence, while three Baath party officials from Dujail received 15 years each and a fourth, more minor figure, was cleared.
The Iraqi official said the execution will be carried out soon after the nine-member appeals panel confirms their verdicts delivered by the Iraqi High Tribunal -- the court trying the former regime officials.
"We will not waste time. We will look at the security situation and they will be executed immediately at the very first opportunity we get after the appeals chamber finalises the verdicts," he said.
Last month Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki told BBC that Saddam could be executed by the end of this year but the official said "that is unlikely."
"People may not believe but we are handling this case in a very democratic way and there is no interference from the government's side in the working of the appeals chamber. It will take time," affirmed the official.
Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Mussawi said that the prosecution has also forwarded a demand to convert the life imprisonment of Ramadan into a death sentence.
"We have asked for Ramadan to be executed too," Mussawi told AFP.
Mussawi said the appeal chamber was "deliberating the tribunal's verdict."
"The panel is studying the case in detail every day and if it upholds the verdicts it will be implemented by the justice ministry."
Lawyers acting for Saddam and the other six convicted defendants have already submitted appeals against the sentences.
Those condemned to death or life in jail have an automatic right of appeal according to Iraq law.
Another top Iraqi government official Basam Ridha revealed that more than a hundred people have expressed their desire to be the hangman for executing Saddam.
"I am getting letters, emails, telephone calls and even mobile text messages from people within Iraq and outside who want to hang him," Ridha said.
"They say 'we want to kill him. He killed my family, so we have the right to do it'," he added.
Mussawi added that there was also a demand to hang Saddam publicly but "of course it will not be done as it violates human rights."
Saddam and six other former regime officials are currently also on trial in a separate genocide case involving the massacre of 182,000 Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988.
(who is being held accountable for Rwanda, Dafur... ?)