Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Cell-phone video of execution outrages Sunnis

Bitter exchanges between Saddam Hussein and his Shiite executioners were caught on cell-phone video and leaked to the Iraqi public less than 24 hours after he was hanged, as reported by CNN January 1, 2007.

After Hussein prays, his guards shout, "Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada!", a reference to Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric whose father founded the Shiite Dawa movement, the political party to which Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki belongs.

The taunts continued until the trapdoor dropped and Hussein was dead. Immediately after, according to the CNN report, Shiite witnesses danced around his body, chanting celebratory slogans.

According to the report, the video has outraged Iraqi Sunnis. Hundreds of Sunnis Muslims, angered by the way Hussein's hanging was carried out, "took to the streets in mainly peaceful demontrations" in the Sunni enclaves across the country, according to a report today by Lauren Frayer, Associated Press Writer.

Sunnis were not only outraged by the taunts and sectarian partisanship shown in the execution chamber, but also by the timing of the execution. Saddam was put to death the day Sunnis began their celebrations for Eid al-Adha, despite the Iraqi law stating that "no verdict should be implemented during the official holidays or religious festivals", according to Iraqi Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin, a Kurd.

On the first day of the New Year, Iraqi police reported finding another 40 bodies in Baghdad, handcuffed, blindfolded and bullet-riddled.

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