Saddam Hussein hanged on the eve of Hajj holiday

December 29, 2006

As expected, Saddam Hussein has been hanged in Iraq. The execution was slated to happen before the New Year and the former president’s late attempts to appeal the verdict were unsuccessful, with a US judge rejecting his appeal saying that Hussein was not in US custody.

Hussein’s legal team had argued that he was a Prisoner of War and thus should have remained in US custody. That would annul the Iraqi court’s decision.

The defense makes sense with Hussein having been captured as part of the US’ war on Hussein’s regime. Considering the flawed trial which convicted Hussein to the death, the hanging is quite contentious. Furthermore, it is something that can spur violence with parts of Iraq still behind the former president.

The execution comes on the eve of the Eid al-Adha holiday (which coincides with the Hajj), and this may be intentional, with officials possibly hoping that Hajj pilgrimage will subdue potential violence.

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