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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 December 2006, 22:36 GMT
Saddam not hanged 'for revenge'
Mourners at the burial site of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein's body was handed to clan leaders for burial

Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's execution on Saturday was not an act of revenge, Iraqi officials say.

"This whole execution is about justice," Hiwa Osman, an adviser for the Iraqi president told the BBC.

Mr Osman's remarks come after new video filmed on a mobile phone showed a man taunting Saddam Hussein on the gallows.

Correspondents say the manner of the execution may exacerbate divisions in Iraq between supporters and opponents of the former leader.

Violence continues

The country experienced yet another day of violence on Sunday with a car bomb killing one and injuring at least six in Baghdad's northern Hurriyah neighbourhood, AFP reports.

Police said they had found 12 bodies dumped in the capital on Sunday, according to the Associated Press, a relatively low number by recent standards.

A further four corpses - two women and two men - were also reported to have been found in the northern city of Mosul, AFP reports.

Meanwhile, scores of Saddam supporters have been flocking to the site where the former leader's body was buried on Sunday.

The former president, 69, was sentenced to death by an Iraqi court on 5 November over the killings of 148 Shias from the town of Dujail in the 1980s.

Onlookers?

Images of Saddam Hussein being taken to the gallows in a Baghdad building his intelligence services once used for executions were broadcast on state TV on Saturday.

Saddam Hussein on the gallows in a frame form al-Iraqiya TV
His past caught up with him and he got what he deserved
Munawar, Tehran

They showed a respectful, if businesslike, team of hooded volunteers shuffling the formally dressed ex-leader onto the platform and slipping the noose over his neck.

But the unofficial video images - posted on the internet and shown on Arab and Western channels - show he exchanged taunts with onlookers from the gallows.

One of them shouts the name of Moqtada al-Sadr, a prominent Shia cleric. Saddam Hussein said they were not showing bravery.

He is then heard citing verses from the Koran before the trapdoor opened and he died.

The taunts using the cleric's name will reinforce the view among Saddam Hussein's own Sunni tribesmen that the execution was more about Shia revenge than Iraqi justice, says the BBC's Peter Biles in Baghdad.

But the Iraqi presidential adviser told the BBC's Newshour programme the taunts came from bystanders.

They felt very proud as they saw their father facing his executioners so bravely
Spokeswoman for Saddam Hussein's daughters

"We don't quite know who was shouting at Saddam or with whom he was exchanging the insults but I do not think it was any members of the government who were doing this," Hiwa Osman said.

He said he understood why many Iraqis - including those heard on the video - would have such strong feelings.

"There are hundreds and millions of victims of Saddam in Iraq and they might have made it to the courtroom under one capacity or the other. And that moment might have been quite emotional for those victims that they might not have been able to hold themselves," Mr Osman said.

Burial 'shrine'?

In a sparsely attended ceremony in Awja, in the Tikrit region north of the capital, the former Iraqi leader was laid to rest in a family plot.

God has decided that Saddam Hussein should have such an end, but his march and the course which he followed will not end
Mohammed Natiq
Saddam supporter

His sons Uday and Qusay, killed by US troops in 2003, are also buried there.

The BBC's John Simpson in Baghdad says the Iraqi government will not be worried that Saddam's grave may turn into a place of political pilgrimage.

Iraqi ministers think that his practical influence in Iraq has been entirely finished by his execution, our correspondent says.

However, many supporters have made their way to the site, vowing to avenge his death.

Mohammed Natiq, 24, said: "God has decided that Saddam Hussein should have such an end, but his march and the course which he followed will not end."




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