January 3, 2007
(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — Iraqi expatriates in the Kingdom joined thousands of Jordanians expressing their disapproval of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's execution, which took place at dawn on Saturday.
The timing and manner of Saddam's hanging inflamed emotions all over the Muslim world according to protesters in Karak, who set up a tent hosting thousands of people gathered to express anger against the execution.
"This action marks the fall of the Arab nation," Abdullah Ali, a civil servant of a local governmental agency in Karak, told The Jordan Times.
In Amman, Saddam's eldest daughter, Raghad, joined a sit-in organised on Monday.
"God bless you, I thank you for honouring Saddam the martyr," she was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse.
Saddam's two older daughters and their children took refuge in Jordan on July 30, 2003, four months after the US-led invasion that led to their father's downfall, according to AFP.
On Sunday, dozens of Palestinians held a protest in Baqaa refugee camp north of Amman, following prayers which mourned Saddam's death, Reuters reported.
Several civil society organisations in Jordan also issued statements condemning the execution, including the Higher Committee of the Jordanian National Opposition Political Parties. The committee said that the trial was flawed, adding that it was cruel timing for Muslims who view Eid Al Adha as a time of forgiveness and compassion.
"This verdict is part of the Zionist-US project, which aims to destroy the existence of Muslims," the statement said.
The Jordan Bar Association described the hanging as an "assassination" and called on Muslim and Arab nations to sever ties with the US at all levels and declare official mourning by lowering flags in all Arab states. The association urged people to take to the streets in protest against "the manner in which the sentence was carried out."
They called on international and Arab legal organisations, including the Arab Lawyers Federation, to investigate the treatment of "the martyr Saddam Hussein" during his trial.
Iraqi expatriates in the Kingdom also voiced their dismay over the way in which the sentence was carried out.
"It does not matter anymore what he did… the way he was killed was a disgrace for all Iraqis… this was not the justice we were looking for," Abu Ali told The Jordan Times.
The father of two, a Shiite who was opposed to Saddam's regime and has family members who suffered under his rule, described the execution as a sectarian display far from democracy.
"I cried when I saw my former leader not respected even in death," he said, adding "Saddam was still an international leader who loved his country."
Abu Omar, a former colonel of the Iraqi Revolutionary Guard living in the Kingdom was not surprised.
"There is no more law in Iraq. I cannot say he did not make mistakes, all leaders make mistakes but his contributions to his country outweigh any wrong he has done," Abu Omar said.
"At least under his rule we were proud and had no divisions between us, look at us now," the ex-Baathist added.
Some Iraqi expatriates in Amman, however, found it hard to feel sorrow for the ousted leader.
"His hanging was not enough, he [Saddam] deserved to die many times over," Haider Isaadi told The Jordan Times.
Isaadi, who came to Amman in 2001, said most of his family members were killed during the Iraq-Iran war and his brother died after being jailed by Saddam's regime.
Meanwhile, the government urged Iraqis to maintain their unity and work to ensure a better future for their country, Government Spokesperson Nasser Judeh said.
Judeh told the Jordan News Agency, Petra, that the Kingdom hopes this issue will not have a negative impact on the Iraqis, stressing that the government would continue its efforts with Arabs and the international community to end the violence and restore peace and security in Iraq.
At the international level, rights group Amnesty International, which totally opposes the use of the death penalty, deplored the execution, although it had "greatly welcomed the decision to hold Saddam to account for the crimes committed under his rule, but this should have been done through a fair process.
"We oppose the death penalty in all cases as a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, but it is especially abhorrent when this most extreme penalty is imposed after an unfair trial… It is even more worrying that in this case, the execution appeared a foregone conclusion, once the original verdict was pronounced, with the Appeals Court providing little more than a veneer of legitimacy for what was, in fact, a fundamentally flawed process," said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.
New York-based Human Rights Watch issued a statement describing the execution of Saddam as a significant step away from respect for human rights and the rule of law in Iraq
"The test of a government's commitment to human rights is measured by the way it treats its worst offenders… History will judge these actions harshly," said Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's International Justice Programme.
Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death on November 5, 2006 after being convicted in connection with the killing of 148 people from Dujail village after an attempt to assassinate him there in 1982. The trial, which began in October 2005 almost two years after he was captured by US forces, ended last July. The Appeals Court confirmed the sentence on December 26, confirming that it must be carried out within 30 days.