INTERNATIONAL

Sunnis angry over hangings

Atul Aneja

U.N. chief regrets Iraqi executions

DUBAI: Iraqi Sunnis have reacted angrily to the hangings on Monday of the former head of Iraqi intelligence, Ibrahim al-Tikriti, and revolutionary court judge, Awad Hamed al-Bandar.

The executions took place before dawn, in the same facility where former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was hanged on December 30. Al-Tikriti's hanging was particularly distasteful as his head separated from his body as he fell through the trap door. In a damage control exercise later, journalists were shown a video of the execution to impress upon them that the hanging had been botched up inadvertently.

A spokeswoman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that he "regrets that despite pleas from both himself and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to spare the lives of the two defendants, they were both executed."

Mourners' protest

Later on Monday, around 3,000 Sunni protesters gathered for the burials in the former President's hometown of Awja, near Tikrit, 128 km north of Baghdad. Al-Tikriti's son-in-law, Azzam Saleh Abdullah, said, "we heard the news from the media. We were supposed to be informed a day earlier, but it seems that this Government does not know the rules."

The two were buried in a garden outside a building that Hussein had constructed for holding religious functions.

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