Video: Arab world reacts to Saddam's execution

updated 1/5/2007 9:35:57 AM ET 2007-01-05T14:35:57

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview published Friday that execution had turned deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein into a martyr and pictures of the hanging were “revolting and barbaric.”

In the interview with the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Mubarak also said the timing of the hanging was “unthinkable” and that experts considered Saddam’s trial under occupation illegal.

In his first comments on Saturday’s execution, which took place on the first day of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice, Mubarak said: “No one will ever forget the way in which Saddam was executed. They turned him into a martyr and the problems in Iraq remain.

“People are executed all over the world, but what happened in Baghdad on the first day of Eid al-Adha was unthinkable. I didn’t believe it was happening. Why did they have to hurry? Why hang him when people are reciting their holiday prayers?”

Plea for postponement
Mubarak said he had written to President Bush asking him to postpone the execution, arguing that it would not be helpful at that time. He did not say how Bush responded.

“Then the pictures of the execution were revolting and barbaric, and I am not discussing here whether he deserved it or not. As for the trial, all experts in international law said it was an illegal trial because it was under occupation.

“Also, there was a conspiracy to carry out the execution before the end of the year,” he added.

Mubarak and Saddam were friendly in the 1980s but fell out over the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Mubarak had advised the United States not to invade Iraq to overthrow Saddam, saying that it would lead to chaos.

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