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Saddam's Execution "Illegal": Ex-Judge
SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq — The first chief judge who presided over Saddam Hussein's trial on Monday, January 1, blasted as "illegal" the execution of the ousted president on the first day of `Eid Al-Adha.
Rizkar Mohammed Amin said Iraqi law banned executions during `Eid Al-Adha, one of the major feasts in the Muslim calendar, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The four-day `Eid Al-Adha began for Iraqi Sunnis on Saturday -- the day Saddam was hanged in Baghdad -- and a day later for Shiites.
Hours after his televised execution, Saddam was buried in his home village of Awja.
Amin said Iraqi law stipulates an execution must be carried out 30 days after the appeal court's decision on the sentencing, which in this case upheld the death sentence of Saddam.
But in ratifying the death sentence on December 26, the appeals chamber insisted that the law stipulated the sentence be implemented within 30 days.
Amin resigned as chief judge of the Dujail trial following political pressure amid accusations that he was lenient with Saddam and occasionally allowed the ousted president to carry out outbursts in court.
The Association of Muslim Scholars, Iraq's highest Sunni religious authority, has blamed the Bush administration for Saddam's execution.
"The execution of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in the manner it took place was carried out at the behest of the occupier and some of its allies in and outside Iraq," it said in a statement.
Calling Saddam's execution "a purely political act", the AMS called on Iraqis to "learn the lesson, maintain national unity and thwart the plans of those seeking to plunge the country" into a sectarian war.
The execution of the ousted president has sparked furor in Iraq and provoked worldwide criticism.
"Coward Moqtada, Traitor Hakim," chanted hundreds of Iraqis in Ad-Dawar, the village north of Baghdad where Saddam was captured by US troops in December 2003 not far from his home village of Awja.
The protesters, including women and children, chanted slogans against Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr, whose Mahdi Army has been involved in many sectarian killings, and powerful former Iran-based Shiite leader Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim.