Saddam top aide wishes he had been executed with the deposed leader, an Iraqi lawyer said today.
Four of Saddam Hussein’s top aides are mourning the deposed Iraqi leader’s death while they worry about their own fates as they are held at a US-run detention facility in Baghdad, their lawyer added.
Barzan Ibrahim, Awad Hamed al-Bandar, Taha Yassin Ramadan and Tariq Aziz are “in bad shape, saddened by the news of president Saddam Hussein’s death,” Issam Ghazawi said.
He said he met separately with his clients in their prison cells at an unspecified location in Baghdad last Wednesday.
“They were weeping and they made me cry with them,” he said. “They fear their own fates following the execution of the president.”
Ghazawi, a member of Saddam’s defence team during the last two years, said he has power of attorney from the four Iraqis to follow up on their cases and represent some of them in Iraqi courts.
Ibrahim, Saddam’s half-brother and former intelligence chief, and al-Bandar, former head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court, were sentenced to death after being found guilty of involvement in the killing of nearly 150 Shiites in the town of Dujail in 1982.
Both were originally scheduled to hang with Saddam on December 30 but their execution was delayed until after Islam’s Eid al-Adha holiday, which ended on Wednesday for Iraq’s majority Shiite Muslims. The Iraqi government has insisted that it will go ahead with the executions, despite calls from the United Nations that it refrain.
Ramadan, Saddam’s vice president, was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Dujail case. Aziz is being held without charge.
An unauthorised video of Saddam’s execution, showing him being taunted on the gallows and his body dangling at the end of a rope, has ignited protests by Saddam’s fellow Sunni Arabs in several Iraqi cities.
Al-Bandar told Ghazawi that he “wished to have been executed with President Saddam,” the lawyer said. Ghazawi also told the lawyer that he had been “deprived of the honour of being executed with the president.”
Ibrahim “was in the worst condition. He kept crying over the death of his brother and said it was great loss for the family and the Arab world,” Ghazawi said.
“Both men were very concerned about their fate,” Ghazawi said. “What do you expect from someone who awaits execution at any time?”
Recounting details of his meetings with al-Bandar and Ibrahim, he said both told him that they were escorted from their prison cells to an “administrative office” in a US detention facility, where they were given general information about the plans for their execution.
Ibrahim told Ghazawi: “the Americans took me and al-Bandar from our cells on the same day of Saddam’s execution to an office inside the prison at 1am. They asked us to collect our belongings because they intend to execute us at dawn.”
“They told us that we have only few hours to write our wills,” Ghazawi quoted Ibrahim as saying.
Ghazawi said al-Bandar and Ibrahim were taken back to their prison cells nearly nine hours later. “Their execution should be commuted under such circumstances because of the psychological pain they endured as they waited to hang.”