Iraq hanged two of Saddam Hussein's aides early today and one of the condemned was accidentally decapitated. The official video of the hangings shows Hussein's half-brother, Barzan Hassan, lying headless below the gallows, his severed head several yards away, The Associated Press reported. - - - Cairo - With the storm still raging over shocking footage of the execution of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi government braced for further outrage Monday as grisly reports emerged of the latest hangings.
The latest members of the former Iraqi regime to be hanged were Saddam's half-brother and former intelligence chief Barzan al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former head of Iraq's revolutionary court.
According to an eyewitness account by chief state prosecutor Jafar al-Musawi, the two had black hoods placed over their heads by the executioner before the noose was looped around their necks.
At the appointed time, the trapdoors to the gallows fell open below both. Al-Bandar hung limp and lifeless, al-Musawi told news channel al-Arabiya, but 'Barzan's body fell down' to the ground beneath.
'When an official went over to see what had happened, he saw that Barzan lay on his stomach, headless. The head was still in the black hood.'
Al-Mussawi, who had called for the death sentence for the two men as well as for the former dictator, additionally said he believed God had had a hand in the gruesome turn of events.
His sentiments echoed those of MP and former judge Wael Abdul- Latif, who said that the decapitation of al-Tikriti 'resulted from his deeds.'
Some Iraqis, it seems, believe that the unintentional decapitation of al-Tikriti was no less than what he deserved.
However, given the storm of controversy that followed Saddam's execution - during which the ex-leader was taunted by supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr - it may be that Saddam loyalists accuse not God but the government of having had a hand in the latest events.
In Iraq, many would say, vengeance is nothing to be ashamed of.
Baha al-Araji, an MP representing the al-Sadr movement, believes this sentiment to be behind the executions. The carrying out of the sentences was 'the expression of the will of the people that want their revenge on the criminals.'
But unlike with Saddam, whose death at least sparked anger and sadness among some of his loyal supporters, few Iraqis will mourn the two hanged Monday.
'We should not pause long to ponder over these events - they belong to the past, a past that we would be better off forgetting. We should instead be rebuilding our country,' said Abdul Moneim Ali, a teacher from Baghdad.
The 35-year-old, like many Iraqis, says he his weary of the seemingly endless cycle of horror stories from his country, and hopes for a light at the end of the tunnel.
Ali lives in a city where up to 100 people a day meet a violent death, most at the hands of either Sunni terrorists or Shiite death squads, both of which kill men, women and children indiscriminately for belonging to the wrong religious community.
Many Iraqis, for security reasons, carry two forms of identification - Shiites get hold of false papers that give them Sunni-sounding names, and Sunnis do vice-versa. The aim is to increase chances of surviving the next illegal roadblock or mass abduction.
Washington believes it is up to Iraqis themselves to end the sectarianism, religious fanaticism and lust for revenge that are rife in the country today.
Most Arab commentators agree, but charge that the United States - in having led the occupation of the country - has sparked the orgies of violence between Iraq's various ethnic and religious groups which had previously been controlled by the former Sunni regime.
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