Saddam Hussein’s Half-Brother and Court Chief Hanged

The execution reportedly caught the men by surprise:

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.

Video of the event was shown to reported but will not be released. Barzan Ibrahim was decapitated by the noose:

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.”

Iraqi Government Arrests Person Who Recorded Video of Saddam Hussein’s Execution

The man who recorded the cell phone video of Saddam Hussein’s execution has been arrested:

The Iraqi government has arrested the person believed to have recorded Saddam Hussein’s hanging on a cellphone.

An adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would not identify the person, but said it was an official who supervised the execution last Saturday.

“In the past few hours, the government has arrested the person who made the video of Saddam’s execution,” the adviser said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

I’m a bit surprised. Despite appearances I assumed the release was intentional.

Video: Saddam Hussein’s Execution – Hanging Shown

They say that he died with fear in his eyes but you can’t really tell in this grainy cell phone video:

The deposed leader, 69, shuffled to the gallows about 2pm Melbourne time carrying a copy of the Koran.

Hands bound behind his back and his ankles shackled, he asked guards to loosen his manacles but refused to let authorities cover his head with a black hood.

Then he was led to the trapdoor of the gallows, where, five minutes later, he died in “the blink of an eye”.

Among his last words was a Muslim profession of faith: “There is no God but God and Mohammed is his prophet.”

There is an official high-definition version but it still hasn’t been released:

The Iraqi government photographer who filmed this morning’s execution of ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein used a Sony High-Definition video camera, according to wire reports.

There was no word when — or if — the execution video would be broadcast in high-def in Iraq and elsewhere. Newsweek reports that the video is 15 minutes long and shows Hussein from “close quarters” during his final moments.

The photographer has commented on the scene.

CNN breaks down the audio:

But a crude cell-phone video leaked less than 24 hours later goes much further — showing bitter exchanges between Hussein and his Shiite guards.

After Hussein offers prayers, the guards shout praise for Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric whose father is believed to have been murdered by Hussein’s regime.

They chant, “Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada!”

Hussein smiles.

“Is this how you show your bravery as men?” he asks.

“Straight to hell,” someone shouts back at him.

“Is this the bravery of Arabs?” Hussein asks.

A sole voice is heard trying to silence the taunts.

“Please, I am begging you not to,” the unknown man says. “The man is being executed.”

Another shout, “Long live Mohammed Baqir Sadr” — referring to Muqtada al-Sadr’s father-in-law and a founder of the Shiite Dawa movement who was executed by the Hussein regime. Dawa is al-Maliki’s party.

The taunts continued, and the trapdoor dropped shortly after 6 a.m. Saturday. Hussein was hanged. (Watch Hussein’s last moments Video)

Immediately after, Shiite witnesses danced around his body, chanting celebratory slogans.

He was buried in Tikrit:

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was buried Sunday in Awja, near Tikrit, according to a CNN journalist who witnessed the ceremony.

About 100 people, including the governor of Salaheddin, clerics, tribal leaders and relatives attended the event, which took place at 4 a.m. (0100 GMT).

Saddam Hussein’s relatives, including sons Uday and Qusay, are buried in the same cemetery. His sons were killed in a firefight with U.S. forces in 2003.

Iraq’s state-run television network, Al-Iraqiya, reported that the Iraqi government formally handed over Hussein’s body to Sheikh Ali al-Nida, leader of the Bou Nasser tribe, and the governor of Salaheddin. It was transported by the U.S. military.

The body was then taken to Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, north of the capital, where members of the Bou Nasser tribe and clerics prayed over it, said a reporter for CNN who saw the body in Tikrit.

Blogs of War reader Greatcanine emails:

I thought you would like to post this. I put it together from the clandestine cellphone video filmed at the execution. The cellphone recorded flash photography during the post-hanging sequence and Saddam’s face is lit up for a second here and there. The sequence is chilling as it shows Saddam closing his eyes for the last time. I can get you larger files

You can see the image here. Shokk.com has one too.

Update 1/3/2006:
The person who recorded this video has been arrested by the Iraqi government.

Hot Air: I don’t know whose bright idea it was to let three punks in leather jackets and balaclavas take care of business instead of the Iraqi army, but the more I watch it, the more it looks like a hit instead of a state execution.