Saddam buried in village of his birth

Saddam Hussein was buried in a domed religious hall in northern Iraq shortly before dawn Sunday, a day after the deposed leader's execution.

Saddam Hussein was buried in a domed religious hallin northern Iraqbefore dawnSunday,a day after the deposedleader'sexecution.

His bodywasremovedSaturday from the gallows insideBaghdad's Central Prison to Ouja,130 kilometres north of Baghdad, for the burial.
Iraqis grieve beside the burial site of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in Ouja, 130 kilometres north of Baghdad. ((Bassim Daham/ Associated Press))

Several dozen mourners took turns paying their respects in the hall, located in the village of his birth, just outside of Tikrit.

The burial place is about three kilometres from the graves of Saddam's sons, Uday and Qusay, who were killed by U.S.forces in Mosul in July 2003.

Someknelt before hisflag-draped coffin and wept. A large framed photograph of Saddam was propped up on a chair nearby.

Amid news of the burial of the once-feared leader, who is believed to have ordered the deaths of thousands of his countrymen through execution, torture and gas attacks, more details of his hanging came to light after his death early Saturday in Baghdad.

Iraqis awoke Saturday to television images of a noose being slipped over Saddam's neck and his white-shrouded body.

'He was not afraid of death'

Saddam, renowned for his flamboyant military garb during his 24-year reign over Iraq, was shown before his execution in a simple black suit and white shirt with a copy of the Qur'an in his hand. Shown with his hands bound behind his back, Saddam refused a hood and did not resist when the masked hangmen slipped the noose around his neck.

"He was not afraid of death," Munir Haddad, a judge on the appeals court that upheld Saddam's death sentence, told CNN Saturday.
This video image released by Iraqi state television shows Saddam Hussein's guards wearing ski masks and placing a noose around the deposed leader's neck moments before his execution Saturday. ((IRAQI TV/ Associated Press))

Some of the executioners taunted Saddam and shouted slogans from radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Saddam attempted to mock him, uttering his name, Haddad said.

"The moment he was hanged, I walked out of the room," he said.

In a separate video, first broadcast by Al-Jazeera satellite television early Sunday, someone in the group invited to watch the execution can be heard praising the founder of the Shia Dawa party, who was executed in 1980 along with his sister by Saddam, the Associated Press reported.

Saddam appeared to smile at those taunting him from below the gallows. He said they were not showing manhood.

Then Saddam began reciting the Shahada, a Muslim prayer that says there is no god but God and Muhammad is his messenger, according to an unabridged copy of the same tape, apparently shot with a camera phone and posted on a website.

Saddam made it to midway through his second recitation of the verse. Reportedly, his last word was Muhammadbefore the floor dropped out of the gallows.

"The tyrant has fallen," someone in the group of onlookers shouted. The video showed a close-up of Saddam's face as he swung from the rope.

Then came another voice: "Let him swing for three minutes."

Dancing around body

Iraqi security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie, who witnessed the execution, said Saddam was "a broken man" and showed fear before his death. He told CNN some of the witnesses and one of the executioners danced around Saddam's body in celebration.

Despite U.S. forces being on high alert in the wake of the execution, there was no sign of a feared Sunni uprising in retaliation, and the bloodshed from civil warfare was not far off the daily average — 92 from bombings and death squads.

The U.S. military announced six more service members — three soldiers and three Marines — were killed Friday.

With files from the Associated Press