Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SADDAM 'WILL DIE TOMORROW'; Farewells to Family as Lawyers Collect His Personal Possessions

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

SADDAM 'WILL DIE TOMORROW'; Farewells to Family as Lawyers Collect His Personal Possessions

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT MENDICK

SADDAM HUSSEIN faces execut ion within the next 24 hours, one of his defence lawyers said today.

The former Iraqi dictator said his final farewells to his halfbrothers amid growing expectation that he will be hanged as early as tomorrow.

The speculation was fuelled by the revelation that one of his defence team had been asked by the US military to collect his personal possessions.

Defence lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi said: "The American side called me and asked me to pick up the personal effects of the president and Barzan al-Tikriti." Al-Tikriti, Saddam's half-brother, has also been sentenced to death.

Fellow defence lawyer Najib Naimi, a former Qatar justice minister, later told the news channel Al-Jazeera English: "All these indications show he [Saddam] will probably be executed tomorrow."

According to reports in today's New York Times, a senior US administration official said the execution would come swiftly.

"It may be another day or so," the official said. A second source said Iraqi officials had told the White House to expect it tomorrow-Baghdad time.

A senior Foreign Office source told the Evening Standard: "We are expecting his execution sooner rather than later."

It was reported that US officials handed over the former dictator to the Iraqi government today in preparation for his final journey to the gallows.

However, amid growing confusion and fears the execution could provoke a wave of insurgent attacks, Iraq's justice ministry denied it had taken custody of Saddam and said the former president would not be executed for at least a month.

Bosho Ibrahim, Iraq's deputy justice minister, said today: "Press reports that he has been handed over are not correct."

A US embassy spokesman in Baghdad said he could not confirm whether Saddam had been transferred.

Saddam, 69, was sentenced to death for the massacre of 148 Shia men and boys in Dujail, northern Iraq, in 1982 after a failed attempt on his life. …

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