Iraq’s president urges another execution delay

/ Source: The Associated Press

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Wednesday the government should delay the execution of two of Saddam Hussein’s co-defendants.

Saddam’s half brother and former intelligence chief, Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court, were sentenced to death with Saddam.

They were found guilty, along with the former Iraqi leader, of involvement in killing 148 Shiite Muslims after a 1982 assassination attempt on the former leader in the northern town of Dujail.

“In my opinion we should wait on the executions,” Talabani said Wednesday at a news conference with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad. “We should examine the situation,” he said without elaborating.

Ibrahim and al-Bandar were originally scheduled to be executed with Saddam on Dec. 30. Their executions were postponed, however, until after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which ended a week ago.

Iraqi officials have said the two men were expected to be hanged in the coming days, but no date has been released. Talabani said he did not know when Ibrahim and al-Bandar would be hanged.

Saddam’s execution devolved into an unruly scene that brought worldwide criticism of the Iraqi government. Video of the execution, recorded on a cell phone camera, showed the former dictator being taunted on the gallows.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that Khalilzad asked him to delay Saddam’s execution for 10 days to two weeks, but added that Iraqi officials rejected the demand.