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Iraqi judge says Saddam to be executed by Saturday

[JURIST] An Iraqi judge on the appeals bench of the Iraqi High Tribunal [official website] that earlier this week rejected [ruling in Arabic, PDF] Saddam Hussein's appeal [appeal brief, in English] of his November death sentence [JURIST report] for crimes against humanity said Friday that Hussein would be executed "today or tomorrow," adding to the prevailing confusion [JURIST report] about when and even if the ousted Iraqi dictator will be put to death for crimes against humanity committed in the town of Dujail in 1982. Kurdish judge Munir Haddad, the judiciary's appointed representative at the execution, was quoted by AP as saying "All the measures [for the execution] have been done" and "I am ready to attend and there is no reason for delays."

Saddam has not yet been handed over to Iraqi authorities, contrary to an earlier statement by his defense team, but defense lawyer Najeeb al-Nauimi told AP late Friday that the transfer from US custody would only occur "a few minutes" before the execution, and "the Americans want him [Saddam] to be hanged respectfully." AP has more.

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