2 Hussein Allies Said to Hang

By JOHN F. BURNS
Published: January 15, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/world/middleeast/15iraq.html?th&emc=th

BAGHDAD, Monday, Jan. 15 ó Saddam Husseinís half-brother and the head of his revolutionary court were executed before dawn on Monday, according to a lawyer for one of the hanged men and a former minister with close ties to Iraqís Shiite-led government.

The Iraqi government had no immediate comment on the report.

The two men who were hanged were Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, former head of the Mukhabarat secret police and the younger half-brother of Mr. Hussein, and Awad Hamad al-Bandar, who was chief judge of the revolutionary court under Mr. Hussein.

The two men were sentenced to death in November along with Mr. Hussein, and had their sentences upheld by an appeals court in the same ruling that sent the former ruler to the gallows on Dec. 30.

Lawyers for the two men said they were awakened with Mr. Hussein on the morning that he was hanged and told by their American military guards that they, too, were to be executed.

But the lawyers said the condemned men were sent back to their cells after several hours with no explanation.

Mr. Husseinís hanging was followed by a worldwide uproar after an illicit camera phone recording showed the former ruler, a Sunni Arab, being subjected to sectarian taunts by Shiite guards and others while he stood with the noose around his neck moments before the hanging.

The executions of Mr. Tikriti and Mr. Bandar were also reported by Qasim Daoud, a former minister of security who has close ties to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. He said he had been told Sunday night that the executions would take place before first light on Monday.

Badia Aref, a lawyer for Mr. Bandar, said in a telephone interview with the Dunai-based al-Arabiya television network that Mr. Bandarís son, also a lawyer, had been called and told to collect his fatherís body at around 7 a.m. on Monday.

A senior American official said over the weekend that Mr. Tikriti and Mr. Bandar would not be handed over to Iraqi officials for execution until the Iraqis present detailed plans that satisfy the Americans that there would be no repeat of the abusive treatment Mr. Hussein was exposed to before he was hanged.

The two men had been held since their capture in 2003 in American custody, at a detention center on the edge of Baghdadís international airport, as was Mr. Hussein.

Immediately after Mr. Hussein was hanged, senior officials in the Maliki government said Mr. Tikriti and Mr. Bandar would be hanged soon after the end of the Id al-Adha religious holiday. It ended 11 days ago, but Iraqi officials had remained silent on the execution date.

The American official said the Americans had asked the Iraqis for details of who would attend the execution, and for assurances that other aspects of the hanging would be carefully regulated. An illicit camera phone recording made during Mr. Husseinís execution showed the former leader, a Sunni Arab, being subjected to sectarian taunts and other mockery from an overwhelmingly Shiite group of witnesses, guards and executioners.

The Maliki government has promised to investigate, while rejecting Western and Arab criticism as hypocritical and unfair.

Up to a few hours before Mr. Husseinís execution, American military and diplomatic officials had argued for a delay until legal paperwork that the Americans regarded as necessary for the hanging to be legitimate was completed, and until after the Id holiday. But Mr. Maliki, supervising preparations for the hanging, ultimately prevailed with the argument that the legitimacy of the hanging was for Iraqís sovereign government to decide.

That decision has been a source of deep anger among American officials, particularly the officers of Task Force 134, the unit responsible for Iraqi detainees in American custody.

Mr. Tikriti and Mr. Bandar were condemned to death with him for their roles in the persecution of the Shiite people of Dujail, north of Baghdad, after what was said to have been an assassination attempt there against Mr. Hussein in 1982.