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Saddam 'executed by end of year'

BBC | November 7, 2006

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has told the BBC he expects Saddam Hussein to be executed by the end of 2006.
In an interview with John Simpson in Baghdad, Mr Maliki said the decision to hang the former president would not be affected by any pressure.

"We would like the whole world to respect the judicial will of Iraq," he told the BBC.

The former Iraqi leader was sentenced to death two days ago after being convicted of crimes against humanity.

Mr Maliki told the BBC that if the appeals court confirmed Saddam Hussein's sentence "it will be the government's responsibility to carry it out".

Saddam Hussein appeared in court again on Tuesday to continue his trial on a different set of charges which also carry the death penalty.

The former president is being tried with six others - all different from his previous co-defendants - for his role in a military campaign against ethnic Kurds in the late 1980s.

More than 180,000 people are alleged to have died in the Anfal campaign.

It is not clear if the Iraqi authorities will wait until the second trial is complete before they carry out the sentence in the first case.

An automatic appeal against the guilty verdict will be launched, to be decided by a panel of nine judges. If the death sentence is upheld, the execution must be carried out within 30 days.

Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging after being found guilty over the killing of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail following an assassination attempt on him in 1982.

Saddam Hussein was subdued in court on Tuesday, in contrast to his defiance on Sunday as his death sentence was read out.


Speaking to the court in the afternoon session, he cited references to the Prophet Muhammad and Jesus who had asked for forgiveness for those who had opposed them.

"I call on all Iraqis, Arabs and Kurds, to forgive, reconcile and shake hands," the former president told the court.

His call for mutual reconciliation came after he had respectfully challenged one witness' testimony.

Tuesday's first witness told the court that he and other men from his village had surrendered to Iraqi soldiers after being promised an amnesty.

Qahar Khalil Mohammed, a Kurd, then told the court how they were lined up and shot by the soldiers. He said he survived despite several wounds, but 33 other people from his village died.

Saddam Hussein rebutted the testimony, saying there was nobody who could verify Mr Mohammed's account. The trial has been adjourned and will be resumed Wednesday.

More trials are possible over Saddam Hussein's response to a 1991 Shia uprising and the repression of the people of Iraq's southern marshlands.

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