Tuesday , January 16, 2007
BAGHDAD, Iraq —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 official video was screened for reporters by the Iraqi government Monday.
The video showed the two being hanged side by side in red prison jumpsuits with black hoods over their heads. Five masked men surrounded them.
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After the trap doors opened, al-Bandar could be seen dangling from the rope. Ibrahim's body was lying on the floor, chest down, his severed head yards away.
The execution was conducted on the same gallows where Saddam was hanged Dec. 30.
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the gallows were built to international standards and in accordance with human rights organizations.
"We will not release the video but we want to show the truth," he said. "The Iraqi government acted in a neutral way."
Prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi said Ibrahim looked tense when he was brought into the room and said "I did not do anything. It was all the work of Fadel al-Barrak." Ibrahim was referring to a former head of two intelligence departments."
On Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the executions were mishandled and said she hoped that those responsible for making cell phone videos of Saddam's execution would be punished.
"We were disappointed there was not greater dignity given to the accused under these circumstances," Rice said during a news conference with her Egyptian counterpart in Luxor, Egypt.
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."
Barzan Ibrahim, who served as Saddam's intelligence chief, was sentenced to death after being found guilty of murder, forced deportation and torture relating to the deaths of 148 Shiites in the town of Dujail.
As head of Iraq's Mukhabarat intelligence service, Ibrahim was one of the most feared men in Iraq, who had personally supervised torture sessions with electric shocks in Baghdad in the 1980s.
One witness at the Dujail trial said Ibrahim had eaten grapes while the man screamed in agony. Another witness described how he beat her and broke her ribs after she was hung naked from the ceiling by her feet.
Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former head of the Revolutionary Court, was sentenced to death after being found guilty of murder in the Dujail case.
Last week, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani urged the government to delay the executions.
"In my opinion we should wait," Talabani said Wednesday at a news conference with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad. "We should examine the situation," he said without elaborating.
Saddam's execution became an unruly scene that brought worldwide criticism of the Iraqi government. Video of the execution, recorded on a cell phone camera, showed the former dictator being taunted on the gallows.
On Tuesday, al-Maliki said that Khalilzad asked him to delay Saddam's execution for 10 days to two weeks, but added that Iraqi officials rejected the demand.
A lawyer for the two men told The Associated Press recently that they were taken from their cells and told they were going to be hanged on the same day Saddam was executed.
Issam Ghazawi, a member of Saddam's defense team for the past two years, said he met individually with Ibrahim and al-Bandar recently, and that Ibrahim told him they were escorted from their cells and told they were also going to be executed.
"The Americans took me and al-Bandar from our cells on the same day of Saddam's execution to an office inside the prison at 1 a.m. They asked us to collect our belongings because they intend to execute us at dawn," Ibrahim reportedly said.
He said the two men were also told to write their wills.
Al-Bandar and Ibrahim were taken back to their prison cells nearly nine hours later, according to Ghazawi.
"Their execution should be commuted under such circumstances because of the psychological pain they endured as they waited to hang," he said.
Ghazawi quoted as Al-Bandar as saying he "wished to have been executed with President Saddam." Ibrahim, the lawyer said, "was in the worst condition. He kept crying over the death of his brother and said it was a great loss for the family and the Arab world."
After Saddam's execution but before Ibrahim and al-Bandar's, Human Rights Watch released a report calling the speedy trial and subsequent hanging of Saddam proof of the new Iraqi government's disregard for human rights.
"The tribunal repeatedly showed its disregard for the fundamental due process rights of all of the defendants," said Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's International Justice Program.
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