BAGHDAD, Iraq – Two top aides to Saddam Hussein were hanged before dawn Monday, 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 Monday’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, including one from The Associated Press, 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 silent 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 government played the video for the reporters apparently to allay any suspicions that Ibrahim’s body was mutilated after death.
“We will not release the video, but we want to show the truth,” al-Dabbagh said. “The Iraqi government acted in a neutral way.”
The execution was conducted on the same gallows where Saddam was hanged Dec. 30 in a building located in the Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah.
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 him being taunted on the gallows.
Ibrahim and al-Bandar had been found guilty along with Saddam in the killing of 148 Shiite Muslims after a 1982 assassination attempt on the former leader in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad.
The announcement of the executions drew outrage from some in the Sunni community while majority Shiites expressed joy.