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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 January 2007, 12:17 GMT
Iraq PM warns over Saddam hanging
Nouri Maliki (R)
Mr Maliki was speaking at an Army Day parade
Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki has said his government could review relations with any country which criticised the execution of ex-leader Saddam Hussein.

Mr Maliki said the hanging was a "domestic affair" for the benefit of Iraq's unity, adding that the former president had received a fair trial.

Mobile phone images showing Saddam Hussein being taunted appeared on the internet days after the execution.

Several Sunni Arab countries have criticised the hanging as sectarian.

We find that this conduct is inciting sedition and flagrant interference in the internal affairs of Iraq and abuses feelings of the families of the victims
Nouri Maliki

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said it had turned the former leader into a martyr.

Mr Maliki's remarks came in a speech to mark Iraqi Army Day, in which he promised to take action against all armed groups in Baghdad.

He said that Iraqi troops were now fully prepared to tighten security in the capital with US forces operating in support.

The new neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood operation which starts this weekend would be carried out regardless of the groups' political affiliations, he added.

The announcement comes only days before US President George Bush is due to outline his new strategy for Iraq.

The American president is widely expected to send thousands more troops to Iraq, despite calls from the new Democratic Party leaders of Congress for the US to begin withdrawing its forces.

'Disgraceful crimes'

But in a speech to mark Iraqi Army Day, Mr Maliki said the decision to execute Saddam Hussein was not a political but a judicial one.

Awad al-Bandar and Barzan Ibrahim
Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti (right) - Saddam Hussein's half-brother, former head of the intelligence service
Awad al Bandar - former chief judge of Revolutionary Court

"The decision was implemented after a just trial which the dictator did not deserve as the crimes he committed against the people, the country and its institutions were disgraceful," he said.

He attacked criticism of the hanging as provocative and insensitive.

"We find that this conduct is inciting sedition and flagrant interference in the internal affairs of Iraq and abuses feelings of the families of the victims," he added.

Other members of the former regime would also feel the full force of the law, he said.

He was apparently referring to Saddam Hussein's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and former chief judge Awad al-Bandar, both of whom were found guilty at the same time.

No date has yet been announced for their execution.

What the Iraqi PM said about Saddam's execution

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