BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants were taken from their
cells and told they were going to be hanged on the same day the former dictator
was executed, their lawyer said Sunday.
But the two condemned men still
await death as Iraqi officials decide how to avoid the kind of outcry that
followed Saddam's hanging on Dec. 30.
Iraq has not
finalised the execution date of Awad Ahmed al-Bandar, seen here in March
2006, a henchmen of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein who was hanged eight
days ago in Baghdad. Jordanian attorney Issam Ghazzawi has said the time
on death row is "more terrifying" than the execution
Also on Sunday, the US military announced the deaths of five more American
troops and at least 14 Iraqis died in bombings and shootings.
Saddam's half brother and former intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim and the
former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court, Awad Hamed al-Bandar, were sentenced
to hang. They were convicted along with Saddam of involvement in the killings of
nearly 150 Shiites in the town of Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt
there against Saddam.
Their executions were postponed, however, until after the Muslim holiday of
Eid al-Adha which ended five days ago.
Authorities also decided to give Saddam his own "special day," National
Security adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie said at the time of his execution.
One of Saddam's lawyers who met the deposed leader in his final days told The
Associated Press over the weekend that Saddam expected to be put to death and
considered it "the most beautiful end" he could have.
Now Iraqi officials must decide how to carry out a second round of executions
in the face of worldwide criticism over their handling of Saddam's death. In the
final moments of his life, Saddam was taunted by some of those present in the
execution chamber as he stood with a noose around his neck.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair criticized the way in which Saddam was
executed, his office said Sunday.
"He believes that the manner of the execution was completely wrong, but that
should not lead us to forget the crimes that Saddam Hussein committed, including
the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis," a spokeswoman for Blair's office
said on condition of anonymity in line with policy.
Blair's likely successor, Treasury chief Gordon Brown, said Saturday that the
taunting of Saddam during his execution and the release of an illicitly recorded
cell phone video was "deplorable" and "completely unacceptable."
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered an inquiry into the emergence of
the unofficial video, on which Saddam is heard exchanging insults with his
executioners and shown dying on the gallows.
In Amman, Jordan's Parliament also denounced the execution and asked God to
bless Saddam's soul. The speaker of the lower house said Saddam's execution
ignored the feelings of Muslims and Arabs because it came just before the start
of the religious festival of Eid al-Adha.
While waiting for their own postponed executions, Ibrahim and al-Bandar have
been mourning Saddam, their lawyer Issam Ghazawi told the AP. He said he met
with the men individually on Wednesday in Baghdad, where they are in US custody.