Saddam Half Brother and Chief Judge Hanged
Saddam Hussein’s intelligence chief and top judge were hanged early this morning.
Saddam Hussein’s half brother and the former head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court were both hanged before dawn Monday, officials said, two weeks and two days after the former Iraqi dictator was executed in a chaotic scene that has drawn worldwide criticism. Barzan Ibrahim, Saddam’s half brother and former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court, had been found guilty along with Saddam in the killing of 148 Shiite Muslims after a 1982 assassination attempt on the former leader in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad.
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh confirmed the executions, saying those attending the hangings included a prosecutor, a judge and a physician. He also said Ibrahim’s head was severed from his body during his hanging. “In a rare incident, the head of the accused Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan was separated from his body during the execution,” al-Dabbagh told reporters.
The executions reportedly occurred in the same Saddam-era military intelligence headquarters building in north Baghdad where the former leader was hanged two days before the end of 2006, according to an Iraqi general, who would not allow use of his name because he was not authorized to release the information. The building is located in the Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah.
The two men were to have been hanged along with Saddam on Dec. 30, but Iraqi authorities decided to execute Saddam alone on what National Security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie called a “special day.”
The Washington Post buried a similar summary on A12, making it a footnote to Saddam’s execution, so the “special day” goal would seem to have been reached. My guess is that they did a better job this time to ensure no private video cameras were present, although the interest in seeming them would be much less than it was for the big guy.
UPDATE: John Burns and Marc Santora have a more extensive report for NYT.
The executions come just two weeks after Mr. Hussein’s hanging caused considerable criticism around the world because of the way it was carried out, including guards cursing the former dictator as he stood on the gallows.
American military officials, who had custody of Mr. Hussein, were particularly upset and pushed hard to ensure that the execution of his co-defendants, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, former head of the Mukhabarat secret police and the younger half-brother of Mr. Hussein, and Awad Hamad al-Bandar, who was chief judge of the revolutionary court under Mr. Hussein, was carried out properly.
The government spokesman who announced the executions, which took place at 3 a.m., Bassam al-Husseini, said both the executioners and the witnesses had to sign statements promising to behave in a dignified manner.
A senior American official said over the weekend that Mr. Tikriti and Mr. Bandar would not be handed over to Iraqi officials for execution until the Iraqis present detailed plans that satisfied the Americans that there would be no repeat of the abusive treatment Mr. Hussein was exposed to before he was hanged.
It would appear the Iraqi government is not quite as “sovereign” as advertised.