Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki on Saturday called on followers of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to reconsider their tactics and join the political process to include all Iraqis.
"I urge followers of the ousted regime to reconsider their stances as the door is still open to anyone who has no innocent blood on his hands, to help in rebuilding an Iraq for all Iraqis," Maliki said in a statement released Saturday just hours prior to Saddam's execution.
"We reject considering Saddam as representative of a specific Iraqi group or faction. The tyrant represents only his cruel self," the statement said.
Maliki described Saddam's execution as a lesson for all ruling despots who commit crimes against their people, adding that persecution of citizens would lead them to the same dead end of their predecessors who violated human rights.
The Iraqi justice has proved throughout the trial of Saddam and his henchmen that it was competent and impartial, the statement said.
Maliki also said that the security issue would now be completely handled by the government, calling on the security apparatus to live up to responsibilities that are grave through combat of the terrorists and their collaborators.
"The dark page in the country's history should be folded and we have to look for the future," Maliki concluded.
U.S.-backed Iraqi TV Al Hurra reported in the early morning that Saddam was executed by hanging shortly before 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) Saturday.
The execution took place after Saddam, who was born on April 28, 1937, and was deposed by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, was handed over to the Iraqi authorities from a U.S. camp near Baghdad international airport where he had been held.