Friday, December 29, 2006

Saddam Hussein executed:


Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has been hanged, according to state-run Iraqiya television.

"Criminal Saddam was hanged to death," the report said. The station played patriotic music and showed images of national monuments and other landmarks.

The report gave no further details, but Arab television stations Al-Hurra and Al-Arabiya reported Saddam was hanged around 6 a.m. local time Saturday (10 p.m. ET Friday) in Baghdad's Green Zone.

But there has been no official confirmation from either the Iraqi or U.S. governments.

Arab media showed images of jubilant Iraqis waving flags and dancing in the pre-dawn streets of Baghdad.

Also hanged were Saddam's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, according to the reports.
Saddam, who was captured in December 2003 following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, was convicted in early November of committing crimes against humanity in the slaughter of 148 Shia Muslims in the northern city of Dujail in 1982.

During his trial, Saddam requested he be executed by firing squad "as a military man" and not by hanging, which he said would be a fate befitting "a common criminal."

His lawyers filed documents in a U.S. court Friday afternoon asking for an emergency restraining order aimed at stopping the U.S. government from relinquishing custody of the condemned former Iraqi leader to Iraqi officials.

But the appeal was denied late Friday.

The attorneys argued that because Saddam also faced a civil lawsuit in Washington, he had rights as a civil defendant that would be violated if he were executed.

The Pentagon said U.S. forces in Iraq were on high alert in anticipation of any violence following the execution of Saddam, whose brutal rule of the country spanned 24 years.

The execution comes as the U.S. military announced the deaths of three more soldiers in Iraq, raising this month's death toll to 106, which is the highest this year.
More to come