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Saddam's half-brother executed in gruesome hanging

UK Daily Mail | January 15, 2007 

Saddam Hussein's half brother has been executed in a gruesome hanging which left his head severed from the body.

Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam's former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the leader of Iraq's Revolutionary Court, were put to death at dawn after being found guilty of killing 182 Shiite Muslims more than twenty years ago.

A government spokesman said: "In a rare case, the head of Barzan was detached from his body during the execution."

The manner of al-Tikriti's death will leave the Iraqi government - which was vilified for the botched execution of Saddam two weeks ago -open to further international condemnation.

According to a government spokesman the executions were witnessed by a prosecutor, a judge and a physician. All had signed a pledge to observe the proceedings with dignity.

The hangings, in the same building where Saddam was executed two weeks ago, took place despite an appeal last week from Iraq President Jalal Talabani for a delay. The Iraqi authorities were criticised worldwide after mobile phone images of Saddam's death, including him being taunted by Shia officials before the execution, were broadcast on the internet.

By contrast, today's hangings were conducted in greater secrecy and were announced by the prosecutor Munqith al-Faroon, not the government. He said: "The government called us before dawn and told us to send someone. I sent a judge to witness the execution and it happened."

The executions came as President George Bush led a White House media offensive to sell his new Iraq policy. Mr Bush, who faces Democrat opposition to his plan to sent 21,500 extra troops to the country, said failure would strengthen Iran and pose a threat to world peace.

He said he had considered the option of withdrawal but decided "if we were to start withdrawing now, we'd have a crisis on our hands in Iraq."

He added: "And not only in Iraq, but failure in Iraq will embolden the enemy. And the enemy is al-Qaeda and extremists. Failure in Iraq would empower Iran, which poses a significant threat to world peace."

The hard line against Iran came amid tensions between the US and the Iraqi government over the capture by US forces of five Iranians last week.

The American military says the detainees are connected to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard faction that is funding and arming insurgents in Iraq.

But the Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari called for the men's release. He said: "You have to remember, our destiny, as Iraqis, we have to live in this part of the world. And we have to live with Iran, we have to live with Syria and Turkey and other countries. So in fact the Iraqi government is committed to cultivate good neighborly relations with these two countries and to engage them constructively in security co-operation."

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