Saddam death scenes 'deplorable'
BBC | January 2, 2007
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has described the circumstances of Saddam Hussein's execution as "deplorable".
Mobile phone footage showed Saddam being told to "go to hell" by people attending the hanging, while the ex-leader mocks their "bravery".
Mr Prescott told the BBC those responsible for the scenes should be "ashamed of themselves".
He would not say whether that should include the Iraqi government which organised the execution.
Mr Prescott told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think the manner was quite deplorable really.
"Frankly, to get this kind of recorded messages coming out is totally unacceptable and I think whoever is involved and responsible for it should be ashamed of themselves."
Prime Minister Tony Blair, currently on holiday in Florida, has been criticised by Labour MPs opposed to the Iraq war for refusing to make an official statement about the execution.
Glenda Jackson branded his lack of public reaction "amazing", while Peter Kilfoyle said it was "yet another error in a long catalogue" on Iraq.
Downing Street said Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett had spoken "on behalf of the whole government" when she gave her reaction to Saddam Hussein's death at the weekend.
She said Saddam had been "held to account", but added: "We do not support the use of the death penalty... we advocate an end to the death penalty worldwide, regardless of the individual or the crime."
The silent, official film released after the execution showed a subdued Saddam Hussein.
But the other footage, believed to have been filmed on a mobile phone, shows a charged, angry scene.
Unlike the official film, it shows the moment that the gallows trapdoor opens.
The amateur footage first appeared on websites and then excerpts began airing on major news channels.
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