Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was hanged in Iraq before dawn Saturday for crimes he committed during his reign. Al-Iraqiya state television aired videotape of Hussein’s final moments several hours after his death. Video of what appears to be Hussein’s body aired later in the day.
Hussein’s hanging was timed to happen just before sunrise in Baghdad, when the holiday period of Eid Al-Adha would begin, said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security adviser. At about 5:30 a.m., coalition forces brought Saddam Hussein to the execution site and turned him over to Iraqi officials. No coalition personnel were present after custody of Hussein was transferred to the Iraqis.
Hussein was taken into a room with a judge, doctor and other officials. He was handcuffed and holding a copy of the Quran. The judge read Hussein the sentence. Hussein was taken next door to the execution chamber. A heated argument with the Shiite Iraqi security officers took place after one of the executioners told Hussein that he had destroyed Iraq, according to Judge Munir Haddad, a witness to the execution. Hussein praised the mujahedeen and jihadists, and cursed Persians and the Western world. He refused to wear a head covering.
As the noose was tightened around Hussein’s neck, one of the executioners yelled, “long live Muqtada al-Sadr”. Hussein mockingly uttered one last phrase before he died: “Muqtada al-Sadr”. An executioner read from the Quran and then carried out the hanging. Hussein died “very, very quickly” just after 6 a.m. Hussein’s body was left hanging for about 10 minutes before a doctor confirmed his death. He was then untied and placed in a body bag.