- The Washington Times - Monday, January 15, 2007

11:43 a.m.

BAGHDAD — Two top aides to Saddam Hussein were hanged before dawn today, and the head of one of them — the former Iraqi dictator’s half brother Barzan Ibrahim — was severed from his body during the execution, a government official said.

Two weeks and two days after Saddam was executed in an unruly scene that has drawn worldwide criticism, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh stressed that all laws and rules were respected during today’s hanging of Ibrahim, the former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court.

“Those present signed documents pledging not to violate the rules or otherwise face legal penalties. All the people present abided by the government’s rule and there were no violations,” he said, adding the hangings occurred at 3 a.m. “No one shouted slogans or said anything that would taint the execution. None of those charged were insulted.”

The official government video of the side-by-side hanging that was shown to a small group of reporters showed Ibrahim and al-Bandar wearing red prison jumpsuits. As they reached the gallows, black hoods were put on their heads and five masked men surrounded them.

The video showed the trap doors opening. Al-Bandar could be seen dangling from the rope, while Ibrahim’s body in a blur fell to the floor, chest down, his still-hooded severed head resting several yards away.

The execution was conducted on the same gallows where Saddam was hanged Dec. 30 in a building located in the Shi’ite neighborhood of Kazimiyah. Mr. al-Dabbagh said the gallows were built to international standards and in accordance with human rights organizations.

“We will not release the video, but we want to show the truth,” he said. “The Iraqi government acted in a neutral way.”

Prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi said Ibrahim looked tense when he was brought into the room and said “I did not do anything. It was all the work of Fadel al-Barrak.” Ibrahim was referring to a former head of two intelligence departments.

The government came under widespread condemnation because of Saddam’s chaotic execution in which video of the hanging, recorded on a cell phone camera, showed the former dictator being taunted on the gallows.

Ibrahim and al-Bandar had been found guilty along with Saddam in the killing of 148 Shi’ite Muslims after a 1982 assassination attempt on the former leader in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad.

The announcement drew outrage from some in the Sunni community while majority Shi’ites who were heavily persecuted under Saddam’s regime expressed joy.

Police in Ouja, the town where Saddam was born and then buried just outside Tikrit, said two graves had been opened near Saddam’s grave in a building he constructed during the 1990s as a community center for religious occasions.

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

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