Associates of Hussein Sent to Gallows

BAGHDAD -- Saddam Hussein's half brother and the former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court were hanged before dawn Monday, two weeks and two days after the former Iraqi dictator was executed in a chaotic scene that has drawn worldwide criticism.

In confirming the executions, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the head of one of the accused, Barzan Ibrahim, had been severed during the hanging in what he called "a rare incident."

But he stressed that all laws and rules were respected during the proceedings, choosing his words carefully after Hussein's execution became an unruly scene that brought worldwide criticism of the Iraqi government. Video of the execution, recorded on a cell-phone camera, showed the former dictator being taunted on the gallows.

"Those present signed documents pledging not to violate the rules or otherwise face legal penalties. All the people present abided by the government's rule and there were no violations," he said, adding that the hangings occurred at 3 a.m. "No one shouted slogans or said anything that would taint the execution. None of those charged were insulted."

Ibrahim, Hussein's half brother and former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court, had been found guilty along with Hussein of in the killing of 148 Shiite Muslims after a 1982 assassination attempt on the former leader in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad.

Police in Ouja, the town where Hussein was born and then buried just outside Tikrit, said two graves had been opened near Hussein's grave in a building he constructed in the 1990s as a community center for religious occasions.

The police said the bodies of Ibrahim and Bandar had been transported from Baghdad to the U.S. military base in Tikrit in preparation for burial in Ouja.

The announcement drew outrage from some in the Sunni community, while majority Shiites who were heavily persecuted under Saddam's regime expressed joy. Khalaf al-Olayan, a leader of the main Sunni bloc in Iraq's Parliament, demanded to see any video taken during the execution. It was not known whether the government took an official video, as it did during Hussein's execution.

"It is impossible for a person to be decapitated during a hanging," he told Al-Jazeera television. "This shows that [the government] has mutilated the body, and this is a violation of the law.

"We want to see the video that was taken during the execution of the two men in order for them to prove what they are saying," he added.

Ibrahim's son-in-law, Azzam Saleh Abdullah, said: "We heard the news from the media. We were supposed to be informed a day earlier, but it seems that this government does not know the rules."

He said it reflected the hatred felt by the Shiite-led government. "They still want more Iraqi bloodshed. To hell with this democracy," he said.

A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information, said the families of Ibrahim and al-Bandar would collect the bodies later Monday.