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Saddam taunter heard on cell phone video to face Iraqi judges

[JURIST] Iraqi government officials have discovered the identity of the individual who shouted out the name of Moqtada al-Sadr [BBC profile], a militant Shiite cleric and head of the Mehdi Army militia, during the December 30 execution [JURIST report] of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive], according to a government spokesperson speaking Tuesday. Ali al-Dabbagh said the individual has been turned over to court magistrates, so the judicial system can decide whether there is sufficient evidence to send the individual to trial, adding according to VOI "What this person did is an insult. It is an individual act. Filming the execution has created a storm in the Iraqi street." The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile] launched an investigation [JURIST report] January 2 to discover the identities of the individuals responsible for the taping and release of the controversial camera phone video [WARNING: graphic images; JURIST report] showing Saddam's execution and for shouting out "Moqtada, Moqtada, Moqtada." Iraqi officials subsequently questioned two Iraqi Justice Ministry guards and arrested [JURIST reports] another official who supervised Hussein's execution. AFP has more. VOI has local coverage.

In related news, British Prime Minister Tony Blair [JURIST news archive] spoke personally about Hussein's execution for the first time Tuesday. Blair had previously said through a spokesperson that the filmed execution was "completely wrong" [JURIST report]. Blair Tuesday reaffirmed his criticism of the conduct of Hussein's execution, but also said the circumstances of Hussein's hanging "should not blind us to the crimes he committed against his own people." BBC News has more.

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