IRAQ. SADDAM HUSSEIN EXECUTED
|Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein
December 30, 2006: Saddam Hussein was executed at dawn following his conviction by an Iraqi court for crimes against humanity. The death sentence was carried out at a former military intelligence headquarters in a Shia district of Baghdad at 6am local time (3am GMT). One of those who witnessed the hanging, Sami al-Askari, an adviser to the Iraqi prime minister, said Saddam struggled when he was taken from his cell in a US military prison but was composed in his last moments.
The former dictator, dressed in black, refused a hood and said he wanted the Koran he carried to the gallows to be given to a friend. "Before the rope was put around his neck, Saddam shouted. 'God is great. The nation will be victorious and Palestine is Arab'," Mr Askari told the Associated Press.
The office of the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, released a statement that said Saddam's execution was a "strong lesson" to ruthless leaders who commit crimes against their own people. The Iraqi state broadcaster, Iraqiya, later aired film of the lead-up to the execution but not the hanging itself.
Saddam Hussein's half-brother, Barzan al-Tikriti, and Iraq's former chief judge, Awad Hamed al-Bandar, were also sentenced to death at the close of the Dujail trial. Iraqiya television initially reported the two were also hanged but officials later said only Saddam was executed. (Sources: Guardian Unlimited, 30/12/2006)