Saddam dead, hanged around 6AM Baghdad time
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been executed by hanging.
The execution took place around 6:00am Baghdad time Saturday, just before the sun rose which marked the commencement of the Eid Al Adha holiday.
Confusion surrounded Saddam’s final hours with statements from various Bush administration officials, and Iraqi government spokesmen, which were conflicting.
It is now believed Saddam was handed over by U.S. military officials just prior to his execution, contradicting earlier statements that he had been handed over late Friday.
An application to a U.S. court to restrain the handover on Friday was rejected.
Arab television networks joined with U.S. networks to provide a minute-by-minute countdown of events leading to Saddam’s hanging.
Just before dawn broke Arab networks were saying preparations were complete, and that Saddam had arrived at the place of execution.
Shortly after 6am in Baghdad (7am in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, 10pm in New York), the U.S.-sponsored Al-Hurra television network and the Arab network Al-Arabiya were the first to announce the hanging had taken place.
Iraqi-state-run television said the hanging was videotaped and photographed, however it was not clear whether copies of tapes and still photographs would be issued to the media.
Witnesses to the execution said the deposed leader rejected wearing a black hood over his head. They say he appeared broken but dignified.
An Iraqi official, Mowaffak Al-Rubaie, said Saddam’s body would be handed over to his family. If they wished to have him buried in Iraq he said the whereabouts would have to be discussed.