Saddam co-defendants to be executed Thurs.

Updated: 2007-01-03 20:56

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Preparations are under way to hang two of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants on Thursday but the details still have to be worked out with the American military, an Iraqi government official said Wednesday.

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Saddam's half brother Barzan Ibrahim, a former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, were originally scheduled to hang with Saddam, who was put to death on Saturday.

But their execution was delayed until after Islam's Eid al-Adha holiday, which ends Wednesday for Iraq's majority Shiites.

Al-Arabiya satellite television and Al-Furat TV, run by Iraq's major Shiite Muslim political organization, both reported Wednesday that Ibrahim and al-Bandar would go to the gallows on Thursday.

Asked about the reports, a government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, told The Associated Press that a Thursday execution was the plan.

However he said final arrangements still needed to be made with US officials about the time and place because the American military was expected to transport the two men from prison to the execution site.

Saddam was hanged in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Kazamiyah. During his regime, Saddam had numerous dissidents and opponents executed in the facility, located in a neighborhood that is home to the Iraqi capital's most important Shiite shrine - the Imam Kazim shrine.

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The former Iraqi leader and the two co-defendants were convicted and sentenced to hang on Nov. 5 and the verdict was upheld by the appellate court on Dec. 26.

The three men were sentenced to death for the killing of 148 Shiite Muslims from the town of Dujail after a failed 1982 assassination against Saddam in the northern city.

Also Wednesday, an Iraqi prosecutor who attended Saddam's execution denied a report that he had accused the country's national security adviser of possible responsibility for the leaked video of the former dictator being hanged.

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.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki on Tuesday ordered his Interior Ministry to investigate the video - who took it and how it reached television and Web sites for public viewing.

The photos showed an ugly scene in Saddam's last moments of life, with taunts and cries of "go to hell" called out before he dropped through the gallows floor and swung dead at the end of a rope.

The official video of the hanging, which never showed Saddam's actual death, was muted and gave the impression of a dignified execution.

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