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Saturday, December 09, 2006

No Lack of Volunteers

I do not often have much good to say about the New York Times, but I have to admit they have written a
decent piece about Saddam Hussein, the massive amount of voluteers that wish to be his executioner and the hanging proccess in Iraq.

Officials have considered staging a public hanging in Baghdad’s largest sports arena, Shaab Stadium, and filling the place with tens of thousands of spectators, according to a high-ranking government official involved in the executions process, who agreed to discuss the subject on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about it on the record.

But while such a spectacle might satisfy a communal need for closure, the authorities have rejected the idea for security reasons. A target that big, they say, would be highly vulnerable to attack by Sunni insurgents who might try to lob a few mortar shells into the crowd or ambush spectators on their way to and from the event.

Government hangings are now conducted in a prison complex in eastern Baghdad. Mr. Hussein, who is being held at Camp Cropper, an American military prison near Baghdad International Airport, could be transported to those gallows by helicopter. But officials worry that the trip would present an unnecessary opportunity for a rescue attempt by his sympathizers.

Most likely, officials say, Mr. Hussein will be hanged at gallows specially built for him at Camp Cropper.

Now, while I do understand the appeal to those that suffered under Saddam Husseins dictatorship to see him die, I have a severe distaste for public executions. I find that they even debated the point of hanging him in in a sports arena to be macabre to say the least.

Further down in the article it states that the UN has requested that the Iraqi government commute the sentences of all the prisoners on Iraq’s death row.

But Iraqi leaders have rebuffed calls for the abolishment of the death penalty, arguing that it serves as a deterrent to crimes.

As well they should, the UN once again shows its favoring of dictators in this ludicrous request.

The current hanging procedures are an improvement over the methods used by Mr. Hussein, who conducted mass executions in a hangarlike building at Abu Ghraib prison. According to human rights groups, hundreds of prisoners were executed in a span of a few weeks in the 1990s to address prison overcrowding.

Mr. Hussein himself asked the court to execute him by firing squad, the method used for soldiers sentenced to death. He said it was his right because he was commander in chief of Iraq’s armed forces at the time of the events in Dujail. His request was denied.

The protocols for his hanging have not yet been determined, including who will get to attend, Maliki administration officials said. In a standard Iraqi hanging, the attendance is limited to representatives from the Justice Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the prime minister’s office, and a doctor. Mr. Shibli, the justice minister, said the convict’s lawyer was allowed to attend, as well as a member of the clergy of the victim’s choice, though in practice they rarely do.

The usual videographer and photographer will probably be on hand, as well, to record the hanging, officials said, and excerpts of the event may be shown later on national television. Mr. Ridha says the Iraqi people will want to see it.

Distasteful in my eyes to show it on public television, then again, I have never had to suffer as these people have under his rule. Especially if the government feels that this may bring about a certain amount of closure and perhaps help, somehow, in stabilizing their country.

This all hinges on whether or not the proccess in complete in time for Saddam to be hanged at all. From what I could find, Iraqi law states that a person cannot be hanged if they are over the age of 70, which Saddam will be in April, I believe.

Others discussing this:
Jules Crittenden.