TimesOnline UK by Ned Parker and Ali Hamdani
Those close to him said he had wanted to die with dignity. Within a day, a million people had seen an illicit film of his last moments
None of the images was part of the “official” footage filmed from the top of the gallows, which was aired on Iraqi state television and beamed around the world. In
At the height of his power Saddam had always had himself filmed in military uniform with shiny epaulets or standing on a balcony firing a gun — an image that would play again and again on state television in homage to his self-declared greatness. Just before sunrise on Saturday, a witness to the former Iraqi President’s death filmed his ignonimous end using the phone. Hours later the grainy, darkly lit footage was on the internet.
In a former military intelligence building, now an Iraqi prison, Saddam was sandwiched between two stout men in black hoods who guided him to the gallows. He bundled himself in a dark overcoat to warm himself in the December cold in
The two hangmen lifted the thick hemp noose over his neck and Saddam stood passively, his piercing brown eyes indicating a flicker of fear.
“Ya Allah [Oh God],” he said. The room’s 15 witnesses roared back: “Peace to be upon Muhammad and his followers. Peace be upon Muhammad and his followers.” Their voices rose in glee and some added a rallying cry belonging to the followers of the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose militia movement has helped to fuel
Ignoring the baying crowd, Saddam, whose dyed black hair was askew, pretended that he misheard the young cleric’s name, whose movement in its violence is reminiscent of Saddam’s own ruthless Baathist cells that paved his way to power. Saddam smirked at his tormentors.
A voice shouted back: “Long live Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr”, the name of the ayatollah who helped to found the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa party and was murdered by Saddam in 1980.
“To Hell,” another spectator bellowed. The scene had begun to resemble a medieval execution or a wild hanging in
“God is great and Muhammad is His prophet,” he said and started to repeat the phrase intended to ensure one dies a good Muslim and goes to paradise. But the trapdoor opened and his body plummeted. His neck snapped.
“Peace be upon Muhammad and his followers,” some shouted. “The tyrant is gone,” another cried. Pandemonium reigned in the shadowy room. A voice interjected: “Leave him for eight minutes. No one pulls him down. Leave him for eight minutes . . . .Everyone back please, everyone back.” Saddam’s body swung beneath the trap door, eyes partly open, and his neck crooked, like his many nameless victims. He swung like the corpses of those who had been executed in his name in prisons across
Those close to him said he had known for months that the end was coming and had no illusions that he would survive. But he wanted his dignity. The man whose vanity led him to portray himself as the defender of the Arab world was determined to get the better of his adversaries. He refused their offers of cigarettes and a last meal of chicken. When the hangmen took Saddam into an unheated room before Judge Munir Haddad, one of the nine judges who had upheld his death sentence on Tuesday for the killing of 148 Shia villagers from Dujail, north of
“I read the death sentence to him and asked him if he wanted to say anything or has any final words. Then he said: “I commend you to adhere to liberality and to beware of the Persians,” Mr Haddad told The Times. Mr Haddad asked him if he had any final request and Saddam asked him to hand his Koran to the son of Awad al-Bandar, the former judge who had also been sentenced to death for sanctioning the killing of the Dujail villagers. Mr Bandar’s son, Badr, has served on the defence team for Saddam and his six co-defendants. Saddam then went readily to the execution room. “He looked very calm and quiet and wasn’t shaking or afraid at all and was walking very normally but his face became pale when they took him to the other room but he was very calm,” Mr Haddad said. baca keseluruhan.