Saddam Hussein took place on December 30, 2006. He was sentenced to death by hanging, after being found guilty and convicted of crimes against humanity by the Iraqi Special Tribunal for the murder of 148 Iraqi Shi’ite in the town of Dujail in 1982, in retaliation for an assassination attempt against him.
Saddam Hussein was President of Iraq from July 16, 1979 until April 9, 2003, when he was deposed during the 2003 invasion of Iraq by U.S.-led Allied Coalition. After his capture in ad-Dawr, near his hometown Tikrit, he was incarcerated at Camp Cropper. On November 5, 2006, he was sentenced to death by hanging.
On December 30, 2006, he was taken to the prison to be executed. The Iraqi government released an official videotape of his execution, showing him being led to the gallows, and ending after his head was in the hangman’s noose. International public controversy arose when an unauthorized cell phone recording of the hanging showed him falling through the trap door of the gallows. The unprofessional and undignified atmosphere of the execution drew criticism around the world from nations that both oppose and support capital punishment.
An Iraqi appeals court confirms the guilty verdict and death sentence against Saddam in the Dujail case.
Saddam Hussein may have lost his life today. But he really died on Dec. 13, 2003. That was the day he was found by U.S. forces, hiding in a hole on a relative’s farm outside his hometown of Tikrit. No one in Iraq had ever seen him more vulnerable. There he was, shown on television, dirt smeared on his face, his beard unkempt, his thick head of hair matted and graying. I watched these scenes unfold in Baghdad with my friend Omar, who chuckled when he saw a doctor shining a flashlight in Saddam’s open mouth. It reminded him of a trader checking the teeth of a new donkey, he said. Was this the same man who had been beamed into Iraqi living rooms for hours on end, delivering speeches in a pressed uniform, his hair smartly dyed black, his mustache full and neat? Was this the man who took on Iran? The man who lobbed rockets at Israel and threatened the President of the United States? Was this the man the country’s composers wrote songs for? At that moment, all the artifice and cunning Saddam had invested in his 24 years at the levers of power fell away and the shepherd’s son who had his name stamped on the bricks at Babylon was shown to be that last and most pathetic thing every dictator who lives long enough inevitably becomes: a frightened old man, totally alone.