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Man who oversaw Saddam hanging recalls dictator's end

BAGHDAD--Mowaffak al-Rubaie sits in his office with a statue of Saddam Hussein behind him, the rope used to hang the dictator around its neck, recalling Saddam's final minutes.

The former national security advisor, who oversaw Saddam's 2006 execution, said Saddam remained strong until the end and never expressed any regret.

“A criminal? True. A killer? True. A butcher? True. But he was strong until the end.”

“I received him (Saddam) at the door. No one entered with us — no foreigners, and no Americans,” Rubaie said in an interview with AFP at his office in the Kadhimiyah area of north Baghdad, near the prison where the execution took place seven years ago.

“He was wearing a jacket and a white shirt, normal and relaxed, and I didn't see any signs of fear.

“Of course, some people want me to say that he collapsed or that he was drugged, but these facts are for history,” Rubaie said.

“I didn't hear any regret from him, I didn't hear any request for mercy from God from him, or request for pardon.

“A person who is about to die usually says, 'God, forgive my sins — I am coming to you.' But he never said any of that,” Rubaie told AFP.

Saddam Hussein, who ruled Iraq for more than two decades marked by brutal repression, disastrous wars and punishing international sanctions, was hanged after being found guilty of crimes against humanity for the 1982 killing of 148 Shiite villagers in Dujail.

He was president from July 1979 until the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and was found by American forces hiding in a hole on a farm in December of that year.

Saddam was executed three years later on Dec. 30, 2006 after a summary trial.

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The bust of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the actual rope used to hang him are displayed in the living room of former national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie, seen during an interview with the AFP where he gave details of Saddam's execution on Monday, Dec. 23.

(AFP)

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