BAGHDAD (Reuters) -No date has been set for the hanging of Saddam Hussein’s half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al- Tikriti and former chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bander, two senior Iraqi officials said on Sunday.
There had been reports the two, convicted along with Saddam for crimes against humanity in the killing of 148 Shi’ites from Dujail in the 1980s, could be executed as early as Sunday, the first working day after the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday in Iraq.
But Sami al-Askari, adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki, said he did not expect Barzan and Bander to be hanged on Sunday. “I don’t know the exact date,” said al-Askari.
A source in the prosecution, which by law has to have a representative present at the execution, also said no date had been set yet. The source declined to be identified.
Barzan and Bander had originally been expected to be executed on the same day as Saddam, who went to the gallows just before the New Year.
A clandestine video showing images of Shi’ite Muslim officials taunting Saddam on the gallows has angered members of Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority and increased sectarian tension.
On Saturday, Maliki — a member of the Shi’ite majority that was oppressed under Saddam — defended the U.S-backed court that tried the ousted Iraqi leader and said the execution had not been political.
He said Saddam’s execution was a “domestic affair” and warned countries which have criticized the hanging that his government could review relations with them.
Maliki said in a speech marking Army Day that Saddam had received a fair trial and that his execution on December 30 was for the benefit of Iraq’s unity.