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Saddam's body to leave Iraq: lawyer

Saddam Hussein's corpse was to be transferred outside of Iraq following his execution, the ousted tyrant's lawyer Najeeb al-Nuaimi said.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2006 11:57 IST

Saddam Hussein's corpse was to be transferred outside of Iraq following his execution Saturday for crimes against humanity, the ousted tyrant's lawyer Najeeb al-Nuaimi said.

The former Qatari justice minister told Britain's Sky News television that it was down to the toppled president's family where the body would be taken for burial.

"We are requesting that they have to be handed over to us, and we will transfer the bodies outside Baghdad, outside Iraq," Nuaimi said, speaking in English via telephone.

Saddam, 69, was hung to death on Saturday in Baghdad for crimes against humanity for the killing of 148 men and boys in the Shiite village of Dujail in 1982 after an attempt was made there to assassinate him.

Officials initially said two co-defendants, Saddam's half brother and intelligence chief Barzan Hassan al-Tikriti and revolutionary court judge Awad Ahmed al-Bandar, had also been hanged, but later said they would be executed after the Eid al-Adha holiday, which ends on Thursday.

"We are in the ... stages discussing about the delivery of his body and the other persons' bodies as well," Nuaimi said.

He said one of his colleagues is in the green zone, the secure central area of Baghdad, to negotiate the release of Saddam's body.

Pressed on reports that Saddam's body would be taken to his home town of Tikrit to be buried there, Nuaimi said that was not his understanding.

"My understanding is that we want them to deliver the bodies and the families will determine the destination of these bodies where they have to be buried.

"It has to be decided by them. In fact, probably today upon the delivery we will know where to send."

On Friday, Saddam's lawyers had asked a US federal judge block his execution by preventing US forces from transferring him to Iraqi custody, arguing that as a prisoner of war, he deserved protection under the Geneva Conventions.

"We tried in fact to delay the execution to allow him to meet with his family and then we meet with him and receive his wish of a lot of things, ceremonies-wise and the rest. But they did not give us a chance to in fact to have that meeting," Nuaimi said.

The lawyer insisted that Saddam's trial was a miscarriage of justice, puppet-mastered by the United States.

"History will never forget such a sham court and a sham case being carried out against a president of a state who is supposed to be in fact a war prisoner under the Americans, who actually failed to carry out their obligation under the Geneva Convention. They just swept through unfair trial.

"He was in fact tried by Americans from the back of the screen. We know it and they know it. They were running the whole script of judgement itself. They put in some crazy judges.

"There are some sentences being punished for which we did not speak about them at all during the trial," he said.

First Published: Dec 30, 2006 11:57 IST