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Thursday, January 04, 2007
US says Iraq screwed up hanging of Saddam Hussein
We would have hanged Saddam differently; had nothing to do with the execution, says US General.

A senior General of the United States military said on Wednesday that the US forces had left all security measures at former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s execution, including searching witnesses for mobile phones, to the Iraqi authorities.

An unofficial video of the hanging, apparently filmed on a mobile phone, showed Shi’ite officials taunting Saddam just before he was hanged, sparking anger and anguish among his fellow Sunni Arabs as well as concern among moderate Shiites and Kurds.

Asked at a news conference in Baghdad on Wednesday about criticism of the hanging, US military spokesman Major-General William Caldwell said: “It was not our decision as to what occurred but we would have done it differently.” “We had absolutely nothing to do with the facility where the execution took place,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government has promised to cooperate fully to investigate how Saddam Hussein's execution could be filmed on a mobile phone.

Footage showed the former dictator being taunted by masked guards in the moments before he was hanged.

The Iraqi government’s promise comes as the US military admitted it had left security measures at Saddam's execution to the Iraqis and that it “would have done things differently.”

A court official said he was nearly forced to stop the proceedings because of the jeering and chanting of the name of Shi’ite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

The scenes have sparked outrage among Saddam supporters. Hundreds of Sunni Arab mourners from his hometown have flocked to the village of Awja to visit his grave.

The mourners chanted slogans for Saddam and carried his photos while visiting the burial site. Several later took to the streets, expressing anger and grief.

An Iraqi government official today said that preparations were being made to hang two of Saddam Hussein’s co-defendants on Thursday.

Al-Arabiya satellite television and Al-Furat TV, run by Iraq’s major Shi’ite Muslim political organisation, also reported that Saddam’s half-brother Barzan Ibrahim, a former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, would be hanged on Thursday.

The government official said the exact place and time of the hangings had not been set. The two men were originally scheduled to be hanged last Saturday along with Saddam Hussein.

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