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Iraq investigates release of unauthorized Saddam hanging video

[JURIST] The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile] initiated an investigation Tuesday into the taping and distribution of a graphic camera phone video [JURIST report] showing the actual Saturday execution [JURIST report] of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive; BBC obituary] and the unruly process surrounding it. The video's release has already prompted protest [JURIST report] from Sunnis. Iraqi officials said they also hope to discover the identity of the individual who during the hanging shouted out the name of Moqtada al-Sadr [BBC profile], a militant Shiite cleric and head of the Mehdi Army militia. The video has also prompted outrage outside of Iraq, with the deputy UK prime minister calling the actions of those witnessing the execution "deplorable" and saying the release of the video was "unacceptable" [BBC report]. AFP has more.

In related news, the Iraqi Interior Ministry [JURIST news archive] has forced the Baghdad office of satellite television station Al-Sharqiya [official website; Wikipedia backgrounder] to close down over its coverage of the Hussein execution. Officials said they decided to close the Dubai-based television station's Iraqi office because of an allegedly false report. Al-Sharqiya has been criticized by some for its allegedly sympathetic coverage of Hussein's execution during which an on-air reporter chose to wear black mourning clothes. The Interior Ministry previously announced the formation of a specialized unit to monitor news coverage [JURIST report] and correct "fabricated and false news." AP has more.

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