Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Torturer's Crocodile Tears

Author: Michael Gregory
Source: Reuters
Saddam Hangman Still Loyal

BAGHDAD, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein may be fighting for his life in court but he still mesmerises Abu Hussein, a former torturer and hangman for the toppled leader who executed hundreds of Iraqis with the noose or the bullet.

"I cry every time I think that he is on trial. I pray for his strength and freedom. Saddam must come back to rule Iraq," he told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

"I am ready to return to my job if Saddam comes back."
...
Deserters from Iraq's war with Iran faced the firing squad. Prisoners who had insulted Saddam were hanged because it was crueller, said Abu Hussein, who declined to give his full name.
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"They would usually say 'there is no God but God'," said Abu Hussein.

Death always came after weeks of torture.

"Sometimes we would hang them upside down and beat their feet with clubs. Or we would electrocute them," he said.
"One of the worst things was putting 10 people in a one-square-metre room for weeks. They had a brief break every day and were allowed the toilet every three days," he said.
...
Abu Hussein, a father of three, said watching men writhe in agony as they died sometimes made him cry. But he said nobody could afford to defy orders in Saddam's Iraq.

"We would have been killed on the spot. One time this executioner was one hour late in hanging someone and he was himself hanged. What could we do? All of this had a toll on us," he said.
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"Only Saddam can save us. It felt terrible but I am willing to hang and torture again. Saddam taught us about force. He is a strong personality," he said.

Full article at the link.