Looks like 2007 will be Saddam-free:
A top Iraqi official says Saddam Hussein will be executed before 6 a.m. Saturday, Baghdad time, that’s tonight at 9 p.m. Central [US] Time.
Which is, I think, 2pm Sydney time. Saddam’s lawyers have attempted a last-minute rope-avoidance gambit:
His attorneys argued that because Hussein also faces a civil lawsuit in Washington, he has rights as a civil defendant that would be violated if he is executed. He has not received notice of those rights and the consequences that the lawsuit would have on his estate, his attorneys said.
“To protect those rights, defendant Saddam Hussein requests an order of this court providing a stay of his execution until further notice of this court,” attorney Nicholas Gilman wrote.
Nice try. Meanwhile, Europeans are unhappy.
UPDATE II. Saddam’s half-brother Barzan Hassan and former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court Awad Bandar were also executed.
UPDATE III. Not only is Saddam dead, he’s also been ejected from a soccer match: “Before the execution, Saddam was reportedly presented with a red card …”
UPDATE IV. Saddam was first sentenced to death 48 years ago:
Under his uncle’s influence, Saddam joined the Baath Party, a radical, secular Arab nationalist organization, at age 20. A year later, he fled to Egypt after taking part in an attempt to assassinate the country’s ruler, Gen. Abdul-Karim Qassim, and was sentenced to death in absentia.
UPDATE VI. Dan Lewis:
CNN are such pricks.
They mentioned that footage of the execution will be made available by Al-Arabiya. CNN will be debating the issue internally and being “very sensitive” in the manner in which they show it, probably only showing the lead-up and the aftermath, but not the execution itself.
They were never that sensitive when they showed footage of American soldiers being shot.
UPDATE VII. Jules Crittenden toasts justice and rounds up blog reaction.
UPDATE VIII. Ten News earlier showed footage of ecstatic Sydney Iraqis; one man told the network Saddam had killed 61 members of his family.
UPDATE IX. Kevin Rudd “questions whether the execution of Saddam Hussein will in any way reduce sectarian and political violence in Iraq, which has already brought that country to the brink of civil war.”
UPDATE X. Saddam’s body count.
UPDATE XI. The New York Times:
Ultimately, underneath all the socialist oratory, underneath the Koranic references, the tailored suits and the invocations of Iraq’s glorious history, Mr. Hussein held onto the ethos of a village peasant who believed that the strongman was everything. He was trying to be a tribal leader on a grand scale …
The entertainment at public events often consisted of outpourings of praise for Mr. Hussein. At the January 2003 inauguration of a recreational lake in Baghdad, poets spouted spontaneous verse and the official translators struggled to keep up with lines like, “We will stimulate ourselves by saying your name, Saddam Hussein, when we say Saddam Hussein, we stimulate ourselves.”
Baghdad’s poets are evidently big Divinyls fans.
UPDATE XII. Scott Wickstein: “Goodbye Saddam Hussain …”
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