…in Baghdad. Which means that Saddam Hussein could be executed at any time:
Saddam Hussein will be executed no later than Saturday, said an Iraqi judge authorized to attend his hanging. The former dictator’s lawyers said he had been transferred from U.S. custody, but an Iraqi official said he was still in the hands of American guards.
The physical transfer of Saddam to Iraqi authorities was believed to be one of the last steps before he was to be hanged, although the lawyers’ statement did not specifically say Saddam was in Iraqi hands.
Munir Haddad, a judge on the appeals court that upheld Saddam’s death sentence, said he was ready to attend the execution.
“All the measures have been done,” Haddad said. “There is no reason for delays.”
In Baghdad, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has signed Saddam’s death sentence, a government official said. … “We have agreed with the Americans that the handover will take place only a few minutes before he is executed,” the official said.
Will executing Saddam help? I think it will help some. The government’s apparent dithering in connection with the deposed tyrant’s trial and sentencing no doubt contributed to an image of ineffectuality. I don’t know how many die-hard Sunnis have harbored fantasies of a return to Saddam’s rule, but no doubt some have. So executing him will signify a clear and final break with Iraq’s past.
UPDATE: Saddam’s lawyers have made a last-minute plea to the federal court in Washington to bar Saddam’s execution–or, rather, to prohibit the U.S. government from turning him over to the Iraqi government. I would think the execution will be carried out before the court responds to the petition. Meanwhile, word from Iraq is that the execution will be carried out within hours.
Americans are used to last-minute flurries that sometimes succeed in postponing executions. But it’s hard to imagine that happening here.
FURTHER UPDATE: Federal judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denied Saddam’s request, following a telephonic hearing with the lawyers. She pointed out that her court lacks jurisdiction to interfere with another country’s legal process. The execution should occur within the hour.
Via Power Line News.
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