[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 29 December 2006, 13:13 GMT
Saddam team 'to take belongings'
Saddam Hussein in court. File photo
Saddam Hussein will be hanged despite a second trial taking place
Lawyers for former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein have confirmed to the BBC that they have been asked to pick up his personal effects.

But an Iraqi official denied that he has been handed from US military to Iraqi custody, following earlier reports this had already happened.

Saddam Hussein could be hanged at any time over the next four weeks, after an appeal against his execution failed.

The sentence is for the killings of 148 Shias in Dujail in the 1980s.

A trial for a second case, genocide against the Kurds, continues.

In further violence, nine people have been killed in a suicide attack near a Shia shrine north of Baghdad, police say.

Family visits

Correspondents say Friday's comments have created a storm of speculation.

According to Iraqi state TV, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said that there would be no delay in carrying out Saddam Hussein's death sentence.

"No-one can oppose the decision to execute the criminal Saddam," Mr Maliki was quoted by AFP as saying. "Those who reject the execution of Saddam are undermining the dignity of Iraq's martyrs."

Chief defence lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi told the BBC that US officials had asked him to appoint someone to collect Saddam Hussein's possessions, or give an address where they could be sent.

THE VERDICTS
Saddam Hussein, former Iraqi president: found guilty and sentenced to death
Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein's half-brother: found guilty and sentenced to death
Awad Hamed al-Bandar, Chief Judge of Revolutionary Court: found guilty and sentenced to death
Taha Yasin Ramadan, former Iraqi vice-president: found guilty and sentenced to life in jail
Abdullah Kadhem Ruaid Senior Baath official: found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in jail
Abdullah Rawed Mizher, Senior Baath official: found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in jail
Ali Daeem Ali, Senior Baath official: found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in jail
Mohammed Azawi Ali, Baath official: acquitted

The lawyer said the Americans neither confirmed nor denied he was actually handed over from US military custody near Baghdad.

Another lawyer told the BBC that Saddam Hussein's half-brothers Sabawi Ibrahim and Watban Ibrahim - also in prison - were taken to visit him on Thursday.

Iraqi Deputy Justice Minister Bosho Ibrahim confirmed to the BBC that Saddam Hussein had not yet been handed over.

The time and location of the hanging has not been made public - and may be revealed only after the former president is dead to avoid civil disruption and unrest.

The confusion surrounding Saddam Hussein's fate comes a day after his lawyer urged the international community to stop him being handed over to the Iraqi authorities for execution.

Mr Dulaimi said he was a prisoner of war and should not be handed to his enemies.

In a letter written from his prison cell, Saddam Hussein said he was ready to die as a "sacrifice" for Iraq.

Dujail

Saddam Hussein was convicted of human rights abuses in relation to the killings of the 148 Shias in Dujail, north of Baghdad, after a failed assassination attempt against the former Iraqi leader in 1982.

Saddam Hussein's half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and Iraq's former chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar were also sentenced to death.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Saddam should be punished but death would only strengthen his popularity and make him a martyr
M McCall, Antwerp, Belgium

Former Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan was sentenced to life imprisonment and three others received 15-year prison terms.

Another co-defendant, Baath party official Mohammed Azawi Ali, was acquitted. The White House has called the ruling a milestone in Iraq's efforts "to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law".

Many critics have dismissed the trial as a form of victors' justice, given the close attention the US had paid to it.

Saddam Hussein's defence team had also accused the government of interfering in the proceedings - a complaint backed by US group Human Rights Watch.

The 5 November verdict sparked celebrations in Baghdad but protests in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Claims that Saddam's hanging will take place soon





FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific