Iraq orders probe of Saddam hang

Updated: 2007-01-03 06:44

Al-Faroon said he vigorously protested when people began to shout just before Saddam was executed, and that shouts of "Muqtada" came from guards outside the execution chamber.

"I am certain that the chanting at the moment of the execution was not organized, and that those chanting were not being ordered to do so," al-Faroon told TV2. "The guards made a decision to do so by themselves. This is the truth. I shouted at them and ordered them to keep silent. My voice is very clear in the recording."

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In the leaked video, one voice called: "Allah, bless those who pray for Muhammad and his descendants. Allah, pray for Muhammad and his descendants and may they bring us their help soon and curse their enemies and back their son Muqtada, Muqtada, Muqtada."

At that point Saddam asked, "Is this manly?"

A voice responded, "To hell."

Another voice called out, "Long live Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr" a reference to the Dawa Party founder and Shiite cleric who was executed along with his sister by Saddam in 1980.

Then, a voice purportedly belonging to al-Faroon said: "Please no, this man is being executed, please no, I beg you no."

After Saddam was dropped through the trapdoor, a voice is heard shouting, "Don't rush, come back!" That suggests people were moving toward the body. However, the leader of Saddam's clan has said the body showed no signs of mistreatment after it was returned to Saddam's hometown Sunday.

It was unclear how many guards attended the execution. On the official video, seven people were on the gallows platform with Saddam. They included five guards in masks, a man without a mask whose face was blurred over, and a photographer.

Sadiq al-Rikabi, an adviser to the prime minister, told the US-financed Al-Hurra television that he does not know who leaked the video and that such an act "is wrong and should be investigated, and I agree that cellular telephones were taken from witnesses before they boarded the helicopter" that headed to the execution site.

"I am full of hope that the results of the investigation will be announced, and the person who did this act should pay a price," al-Rikabi said. Still, the results of some Iraqi government probes in the past have not been released.

The Vatican's official newspaper on Tuesday decried media images of the hanging as a "spectacle" violating human rights and harming efforts to promote reconciliation in Iraq.

Within the country, Saddam's execution and the way it was conducted have provoked anger among Sunni Muslims, who have taken to the streets in mainly peaceful demonstrations across the country.

On Monday, a crowd of Sunni mourners in Samarra marched to a bomb-damaged Shiite shrine and were allowed by guards and police to enter the holy place carrying a mock coffin and photos of Saddam.

The protest took place at the Golden Dome, a Shiite shrine bombed by Sunni extremists 10 months ago. That attack triggered the current cycle of retaliatory attacks between Sunnis and Shiites.

On Tuesday, police in Baghdad said they had found 45 bodies scattered around the city. Many had been blindfolded, handcuffed and shot, apparent victims of sectarian violence.


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