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Saddam Executed, Bush Hails
BAGHDAD — While millions of Muslims worldwide, including in Iraq, were busy celebrating the five-day `Eid Al-Adha, the Iraqi government executed on Saturday, December30 , ousted president Saddam Hussein.
"It was a terrifying scene. Saddam was in self-control. I was not expecting him to be like that," Moneer Haddad, a member of the panel of appeal court judges who had confirmed Saddam's conviction for crimes against humanity and who attended the pre-dawn execution, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Saddam,69 , appeared calm, chatting to his burly, leather-jacketed executioners as they wrapped his neck first in black cloth then a thick hemp rope and steered him forward on a metal platform.
The grey-bearded ousted president was maneuvered forward firmly but not aggressively by the guards.
Looking thin, he was dressed in a smart, dark overcoat over a pressed white shirt but no tie.
"He said he was not afraid of anyone," said judge Haddad.
"One of the attendants asked him 'are you afraid?' He said 'I have never been afraid as long as I lived. I lived as a mujahed and expected death any moment," he recalled.
Officials who witnessed the execution told AFP Saddam railed against his Iranian and American enemies and praising the Iraqi resistance.
Saddam, his half brother and intelligence chief Barzan Hassan al-Tikriti and revolutionary court judge Awad Ahmed al-Bandar were convicted of ordering collective punishment against the village of Dujail after agents of incumbent Premier Nuri al-Maliki's Dawa party tried to assassinate the strongman there in1982 .
On Tuesday, December26 , the appeal court upheld the sentences in a binding and final judgment, asserting the hanging should take place within 30 days.
The execution of Saddam's aides had been postponed until after the `Eid Al-Adha holiday, which ends on Thursday.
Iraqi private television broadcast a grainy video showing the dead body of Saddam draped in a white shroud in the hours following his pre-dawn execution.
The body, dressed in a black coat and white shirt, was shown wrapped in a white sheet in footage released by Biladi television.
His bearded head was tilted to the right.
The picture was shown shortly after Iraqi state television broadcast a brief film of the ousted president being placed in a noose by masked hangmen, cutting away just before his execution.