Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and two top aides convicted with him will be executed immediately after an appeals court confirms their sentences and may be buried in secret, an official said yesterday.
A senior Iraqi government official said he fully expected the judicial panel studying the ousted dictator's appeal to confirm death sentences on Saddam, his half brother Barzan al-Tikriti and a former judge, Awad al-Bandar.
"We are considering the possibility of executing the three, Saddam, Barzan and Bandar at one time on the same day," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the court is supposed to be independent.
"We may bury Saddam at a secret location," he said. "His body may later be handed over to his relatives, as under Muslim rituals we can exhume the body after it is buried. But one thing the government will ensure is that there is no memorial built for Saddam anywhere in Iraq."
Saddam was sentenced to death by hanging on Nov. 5 for ordering the execution of 148 Shiites from the village of Dujail after he escaped an assassination bid there in 1982.
His half-brother and former intelligence chief Barzan was also sentenced to death, along with Bandar, chairman of the so-called Revolutionary Court which oversaw the Shiites' executions.
Saddam's former vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan received a life sentence, while three Baath party officials from Dujail received 15 years each and a fourth, more minor figure, was cleared.
The Iraqi official said the execution will be carried out soon after the nine-member appeals panel confirms their verdicts delivered by the Iraqi High Tribunal -- the court trying the former regime officials.
"We will not waste time. We will look at the security situation and they will be executed immediately at the very first opportunity we get after the appeals chamber finalizes the verdicts," he said.
The nine judges of the appeal panel are currently deliberating on the verdicts and there is no specific time limit as to when they should issue their final ruling, which cannot be appealed.
Under Iraqi law, if they uphold the tribunal's verdicts then the three must be executed within 30 days.