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The death penalty

World reaction to the
execution of Saddam Hussein

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Background:

Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq, was executed by hanging just before 6 AM local time on Saturday DEC-30 (10 PM Friday ET) . He had been responsible for the torture and deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens.

At his first trial, he was found guilty of ordering the mass execution of 148 men and boys in the Kurdish village of Dujail located about 40 miles north of Baghdad in 1982. This was in response to an attack of his convoy by a small group of Kurds. It appears that this atrocity was chosen as the initial trial because of "the availability of documents and witnesses willing to testify." 1

He has been also charged with other crimes:

bulletThe genocide which exterminated thousands of Kurds during a poison gas attack on the Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988.
bulletThe invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
bulletThe suppression of a Shia uprising in the south of Iraq during 1991. 1

These incidents were to be considered during a second trial. However, that trial will never take place.

The execution was held on the morning of Eid-Ul-Adha (a.k.a. Eid al Azha, the Feast of Sacrifice, or the Day of Sacrifice). This is a world-wide celebration that is observed after the Hajj -- the annual pilgrimage by Muslims to Makkah (Mecca) in Saudi Arabia. Eid Ul Adha commemorates the patriarch Abraham's willingness to conduct a ritual human sacrifice of his son Ishmael in response to an instruction from God. 2 The execution was a violation of Iraqi law which prohibits the death penalty being implemented on a religious holy day.

Executing him during the Feast of Sacrifice in Iraq is analogous to implementing an execution order on Christmas in a predominately Christian country.

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World reaction to the execution:

bulletPresident Bush said that the execution was "a milestone on the road to Iraqi democracy."
bulletIt appears that as of 2007-JAN-06, no Canadian politician has commented on the execution.
bulletTarek Fatah of the Muslim Canadian Congress wrote: "... the execution of the Iraqi dictator has turned a murdering monster into a martyr of mythical proportions for the Arab people." 3

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Conspiracy theories:

Tarek Fatah noted that Saddam was executed after having been found guilty of

This essay is currently being expanded

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References and footnotes:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Rory Carroll, "Saddam Trial to Open with Village Massacre," The Guardian, 2005-JUN-07, at: http://www.globalpolicy.org/
  2. Jews and Christians believe it was Abraham's other son, Isaac, who was to be ritually murdered. Muslims maintain that the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) is in error about the identity of the designated victim.
  3. Tarek Fatah, "Why the rush to execute Saddam?" Toronto Star, 2007-JAN-03, at: http://www.thestar.com/
  4. "World reaction to Hussein's death mixed," CBC News, 2006-DEC-30, at: http://www.cbc.ca/
  5. Harry Liberman, "Shiites will find more opportunities for revenge," Toronto Star, 2007-JAN-04, at: http://www.thestar.com/

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