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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 December 2006, 19:23 GMT
Witness to Saddam's death
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (December 2006)
Saddam Hussein always looked combative in court

Judge Munir Haddad was present at Saddam Hussein's hanging on 30 December 2006. In an interview with the BBC's John Simpson, he explains what he witnessed.

Judge Haddad: One of the guards present asked Saddam Hussein whether he was afraid of dying.

Saddam's reply was that "I spent my whole life fighting the infidels and the intruders", and another guard asked him: "Why did you destroy Iraq and destroy us? You starved us and you allowed the Americans to occupy us."

His reply was, "I destroyed the invaders and the Persians and I destroyed the enemies of Iraq... and I turned Iraq from poverty into wealth."

BBC: There was no question Saddam was drugged?

Judge Haddad: Not at all. Saddam was normal and in full control. He was aware of his fate and knew he was about to face death. He said: "This is my end... this is the end of my life. But I started my life as a fighter and as a political militant - so death does not frighten me."

BBC: What happened next?

Judge Haddad: They untied his hands and tied them again behind his back.

Some of the guards started to taunt him - by shouting Islamic words. A cleric who was present asked Saddam to recite some spiritual words. Saddam did so but with sarcasm.
Judge Munir Haddad

They put his feet into shackles and he was taken upstairs to the gallows.

He was reciting, as it was his custom, "God is Great!" and also some political slogans like: "Down with the Americans!" and "Down with the Invaders!"

He said: "We're going to Heaven and our enemies will rot in Hell!"

And he also called for forgiveness and love amongst Iraqis, but also stressed that the Iraqis should fight the Americans and the Persians.

BBC: And then?

Judge Haddad: When he was taken to gallows, the guards tried to put a hood on his head but he refused.

Then he recited verses from the Koran. Some of the guards started to taunt him - by shouting Islamic words. A cleric who was present asked Saddam to recite some spiritual words. Saddam did so but with sarcasm.

These were his last words.

And then the cord tightened around his neck and he dropped to his death.

BBC: But did he say anything else?

Judge Haddad: He said, "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is God's messenger."

BBC: And was he killed instantly?

Judge Haddad:He was killed instantly and I witnessed the impact of the rope and it was a horrible sight.

BBC: Are you happy that Saddam Hussein is dead?

Judge Haddad: Do I look happy to you? I am a judge and I just carry out my duty.

I was entrusted to oversee the execution of Saddam Hussein and that's what I did.

I am neither happy nor sad.

Yes I do have feelings as an Iraqi citizen, but I carried out my duty the best I could and I gave Saddam Hussein his rights. I wasn't there to seek revenge.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Judge Haddad describes Saddam's final minutes





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