British Prime Minister Tony Blair has joined those criticizing the way in which Saddam Hussein was executed, his office said Sunday.

"He believes that the manner of the execution was completely wrong, but that should not lead us to forget the crimes that Saddam Hussein committed, including the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis," a spokeswoman for Blair's office said.

Blair is expected to publicly comment on the execution this week. He has faced increasing pressure to share his views on the execution after his deputy, John Prescott, andhis likely successor, Treasury chief Gordon Brown, both criticized the hanging.

Blairdeclined to answer questions on the matter after returning from a holiday in Florida on Thursday.

A number of world leaders have condemned the Dec. 30 execution proceedings, which were captured on video and made public. The video showswitnesses taunting and insulting Saddam moments before his hanging.

Last week, U.S. President George W. Bush said he wished the execution of Saddam Hussein "had gone in a more dignified way."

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malikihas launched an investigation to learn who leaked the video.

More executions planned

Meanwhile, the executions of two of Saddam's co-defendants will take place some time during the week, the BBC reported.

Saddam's half brother and former intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim and the former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court, Awad Hamed al-Bandar, were sentenced to hang.

They were convicted along with Saddam of involvement in the killings of nearly 150 Shias in the town of Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt there against the dictator.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the execution orders forthe twohad been signed, the BBC reported.

"Certainly, the execution orders have been signed and are ready to be implemented," he said.

"There are some technical preparations that need to take place in order to carry out the court's decision."

With files from the Associated Press