WORLD / Middle East
Saddam execution video leads to arrests(AP)
Updated: 2007-01-04 07:37
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi authorities reported the arrests Wednesday of two guards and an official who supervised Saddam Hussein's hanging and said the guard force was infiltrated by outsiders who taunted the former leader and shot the video showing his body dangling at the end of a rope.
Saddam, who was convicted for the killings of 148 Shiites, was dignified and courteous to his American jailers up to the moment he was handed over to the Iraqis outside the execution chamber, a US military spokesman said Wednesday.
He "was courteous, as he always had been, to his US military police guards," Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell said. "He spoke very well to our military police, as he always had. And when getting off there at the prison site, he said farewell to his interpreter. He thanked the military police squad, the lieutenant, the squad leader, the medical doctor we had present, and the colonel that was on site."
Although Saddam "was still dignified toward us," Caldwell said his demeanor changed "at the prison facility when the Iraqi guards were assuming control of him."
National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie and two other top officials variously reported one to three men were being questioned in the investigation into who heckled Saddam as he was minutes from death and took cell phone pictures of his execution.
"The investigation has already had an arrest warrant against one person and two to follow," al-Rubaie told CNN. He said the guard force at the execution was infiltrated by an Arab television station or another outsider.
The clandestine footage appeared on Al-Jazeera television and Web sites just hours after Saddam was hanged Saturday. The tumultuous scenes quickly overshadowed an official execution video, which was mute and showed none of the uproar among those on the floor of the chamber below the gallows.
Sami al-Askeri, a Shiite lawmaker who advises Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said two "Justice Ministry guards were being
questioned. The investigation committee is interrogating the men. If it is found
that any official was involved, he will face legal measures."