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Iraq Moves Forward With Hussein Execution

December 28, 2006 -- Iraqi authorities are reportedly moving forward with preparations to execute former dictator Saddam Hussein by hanging within the coming weeks.

Government officials have declined to publicly give details about the process, but Justice Minister Hashim al-Shibli was quoted as indicating that Hussein's death sentence for crimes against humanity is expected to be implemented within the 30-day time frame ordered by court officials.

The death sentence was upheld by an Iraqi appeals court on December 26.

In a letter written from prison and made public on December 27, Hussein said he sees himself ready to die as a "sacrifice" for Iraq.

Loyalists of Hussein's Ba'ath Party have warned against the execution of their leader, threatening to retaliate against the United States and its interests. A statement posted on the Internet said it would be impossible for the party to participate in any negotiations with U.S. and Iraqi officials to reduce the violence in Iraq if Hussein is put to death.

Hussein was convicted in the deaths of over 140 Shi'a from the town of Al-Dujayl following an assassination attempt against him in 1982.

(RFE/RL 28.xii.06)

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