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January 15, 2007

Saddam's half brother, court chief hanged

Baghdad, Iraq — Saddam Hussein’s half brother and the former head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court were both hanged before dawn Monday, Prosecutor Munqith al-Faroon said, two weeks and two days after the former Iraqi dictator was executed in a chaotic scene that has drawn worldwide criticism.

Barzan Ibrahim, Saddam’s half brother and former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court, had been found guilty along with Saddam in the killing of 148 Shiite Muslims after a 1982 assassination attempt on the former leader in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad.

“They (the government) called us before dawn and told us to send someone. I sent a judge to witness the execution and it happened,” al-Faroon said.

The executions reportedly occurred in the same Saddam-era military intelligence headquarters building in north Baghdad where the former leader was hanged two days before the end of 2006, according to an Iraqi general, who would not allow use of his name because he was not authorized to release the information. The building is located in the Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah.

The two men were to have been hanged along with Saddam on Dec. 30, but Iraqi authorities decided to execute Saddam alone on what National Security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie called a “special day.”

Last week, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani urged the government to delay the executions.

“In my opinion we should wait,” Talabani said Wednesday at a news conference with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad. “We should examine the situation,” he said without elaborating.

Saddam’s execution became an unruly scene that brought worldwide criticism of the Iraqi government. Video of the execution, recorded on a cell phone camera, showed the former dictator being taunted on the gallows.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that Khalilzad asked him to delay Saddam’s execution for 10 days to two weeks, but added that Iraqi officials rejected the demand.

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