Iraq's Saddam Hussein was executed

Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging early Saturday, senior Iraqi officials confirmed.

"It was between 5:30 a.m. (0230 GMT) and 6:30 a.m. (0330 GMT)" and " the whole thing was filmed," Foreign Ministry official Mariam al-Rayis, who attended the execution, told the state television Al-Iraqiya.

"He (Saddam) did not ask for anything and was carrying a Quran," after a judge read the sentence to him, who was clad in black, National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie told Al-Iraqiya.

"Saddam's execution was 100 percent Iraqi and the American side did not interfere," he stressed.

The former Iraqi leader refused to have his head covered with a hood as he was taken to the gallows with his hands bound behind him, according to footage aired by Iraq's state television.

Before the rope was put around his neck, Saddam shouted: "God is great. The nation will be victorious and Palestine is Arab," Sami al-Askari, the political adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Labeed Abbawi told the BBC on Saturday that Saddam had been executed.

"I believe so, yes. He has been executed. It has been officially announced that he has been executed," Abbawi said in a phone interview with BBC News 24.

They did not elaborate where the execution took place but said it was not in the heavily fortified Green Zone.

Earlier, U.S.-backed Iraqi TV Al Hurra reported the former Iraqi leader was hanged shortly before 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) Saturday.

Arabic satellite channel Arabiya also reported the execution had taken place.

The execution occurred 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.

On Nov. 5, a panel of five Iraqi judges sentenced Saddam, his half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and Iraq's former chief judge Awad Ahmed al-Bandar to death by hanging for the killing of 148 people in Dujail, some 60 km north of Baghdad.

On Dec. 3, the defense lawyers of Saddam officially appealed to the higher court against the death penalty imposed on Saddam and another two co-defendants.

However, the Iraqi appellate court chief announced on Tuesday that the court had upheld the death sentence for Saddam Hussein.

Earlier on Friday afternoon, a U.S. judge refused a last-minute request to stay the execution as Saddam's lawyers filed the court challenge.

"Petitioner Hussein's application for immediate, temporary stay of execution is denied," U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said after a hearing over the telephone with attorneys.

Source: Xinhua

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