The execution of Saddam Hussein will take place within hours, as I predicted, according to “top Iraqi officials”. Meanwhile, Saddam’s lawyers try a more friendly court system to get him a stay of execution:
The witnesses to Saddam Hussein’s impending execution gathered Friday in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone in final preparation for his hanging, as state television broadcast footage of his regime’s atrocities.
A top Iraqi official said Saddam will be executed before 6 a.m. Saturday, Baghdad time, or 10 p.m. Friday EST. …
“Saddam will be executed today or tomorrow,” Haddad said. “All the measures have been done. … There is no reason for delays.”
That puts the execution at 9 pm CST, which will make this a prime-time execution. One can suppose the cable news networks will go wall to wall with Saddam coverage, and the broadcast networks may even be tempted to pre-empt their entertainment schedules. However, Saddam’s legal team has decided to try the American courts for a restraining order that would prevent US authorities from transferring physical custody of Saddam to the Iraqis:
Hussein’s lawyers filed documents Friday afternoon asking for an emergency restraining order aimed at stopping the U.S. government from relinquishing custody of the condemned former Iraqi leader to Iraqi officials, a spokeswoman for a federal court in Washington D.C. said.
The documents were being processed and were not immediately made public. The Justice Department had not yet responded to the request.
A similar request by the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, Awad Hamed al-Bandar, was denied Thursday and is under appeal. Al-Bandar also faces execution. The Justice Department argued in that case that U.S. courts have no jurisdiction to interfere with the judicial process of another country.
This is a stretch. The Iraqis have legal custody of Saddam and have had it for over two years. They have asked the US to provide physical security, but they can end that arrangement whenever they like, and the courts have no power to restrain the Iraqi government. The Americans would like to maintain physical security of Saddam until the noose is placed around his neck, but that doesn’t mean they have to do so, or that courts could force them to do so.
Having the witnesses on alert means that the execution will indeed occur shortly. The story of this genocidal monster is about to come to an abrupt end.
Question: The Iraqis supposedly plan to tape the execution, if not show it live. Do CQ readers believe that American networks should broadcast the execution, either live or on tape?
UPDATE: I’m late in linking to this, but please read Bill Ardolino’s look at the “Not To Forget Museum” in Kuwait. It will remind people of a few of the many reasons Saddam should exit this world at the soonest possible moment. While you’re at it, toss a few dollars into his tip jar for his embed mission among the troops.
UPDATE II: I didn’t notice this before, but Dafydd notes that the request for a restraining order came to the US district court of Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. If you will recall, this is the same Clinton appointee that forced the FEC to regulate Internet political speech. This should be … interesting.
UPDATE III: Don’t forget to keep checking Memeorandum for blogger coverage of the news.