Iraqi government to investigate Saddam video

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Tuesday, January 2, 2007


A phone video has surfaced in various Arab media outlets and also on video sharing websites such as YouTube that shows Saddam's hanging uncensored. The video contained audio of some witnesses taunting Saddam with chants of "Muqtada" and of the former leader responding that his tormentors were being unmanly.

The taunts referred to Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric who is a main backer of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite leader who pushed for a quick execution of Saddam. The prime minister on Tuesday ordered an investigation into the conduct of Saddam Hussein’s execution in a bid to learn who among the witnesses taunted the former Iraqi leader in the last minutes of his life and leaked a cell phone video.

Sadiq al-Rikabi told 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” 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,” he said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki.

Munqith al-Faroon, a witness to Saddam's execution said: "two top officials ... had their mobile phones with them” and also that “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. 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.”

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.”

Saddam then 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.”

Sunni Muslims have taken to the streets in mainly peaceful demonstrations in Sunni enclaves across the country. They are outraged by the video and do not think that Saddam should have been taunted by the guards.

Sources

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