Saddam’s Sentencing Judge Condemnes Execution Method

April 29, 2008

The judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein to death has condemned the way the dictator was put to death.
“It was uncivilized and backward,” Chief Judge Raouf Abdul Rahman told reporters on Tuesday as they awaited the start of the latest trial of Saddam’s colleagues and cohorts.

Hussein, a Sunni Muslim, was hanged for his role in those killings which took place in a mostly Shiite town just north of Baghdad. The killings were a backlash after attempted assassination attempt. During the time in which hostilities between Sunnis and Shiites were erupting, the hanging occured on December 30, 2006, when Sunnis began celebrating the religious holiday of Eid al-Adha.

A video showed Saddam being taunted by Shiites just prior to his execution, including bitter exchanges between the condemned and the Shiite witnesses. After Hussein was hanged, Shiite witnesses danced around his body, chanting celebratory slogans.


China Leads World In Executions

April 15, 2008

China executed more people than any other country in the world last year by putting at least 470 people to death, but the number of executions in the country actually fell compared to the year before, Amnesty International said.

In its annual report on worldwide executions, the human rights group said Tuesday that Iran remains the country with the second highest number of executions, and that the number had nearly doubled from the year before. The 377 inmates included a man stoned to death for committing adultery.

The United States was fifth in the rankings with 42 executions, reflecting a drop in the number of people put to death during the year. That was the lowest number of executions in the United States in about 15 years, Amnesty officials said. However, lethal injection executions have been on hold nationally while the U.S. Supreme Court considers a challenge in a case from Kentucky.

“Obviously, it’s an image issue,” Rosemary Foot, professor of international relations at St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, said. “It’s always going to be the phrase that’s on everyone’s lips, the highest number.” She said the report would hurt China’s reputation outside its borders but would have little impact inside the country.

Foot claimed it was impossible to obtain reliable figures about executions in China because of the secrecy surrounding the process. “The caveat is, there’s not openness about levels of execution. We don’t actually know what the real figure is.”

Full story @