Court Orders Saddam to Be Hanged Within 30 Days An Iraqi appeals court has upheld the death sentence imposed on Saddam Hussein at his first trial for war crimes. The court said Saddam must be hanged within 30 days for the killing of 148 Shiites in the central city of Dujail.
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Court Orders Saddam to Be Hanged Within 30 Days

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Court Orders Saddam to Be Hanged Within 30 Days

Court Orders Saddam to Be Hanged Within 30 Days

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From the studios of NPR West, this is DAY TO DAY. Alex Chadwick is away. I'm Noah Adams.


And I'm Madeleine Brand.

Coming up on the program: an update on a number of stories that grabbed our attention this year but then disappeared.

ADAMS: But first to Iraq where the country's highest appeals court today upheld the death sentence of the country's former president Saddam Hussein. Hussein was sentenced to death last month for his role in the killing of 148 Shiite men and boys in 1982 in the town of Dujail.

According to the chief judge of the appeals court, the sentence against Hussein, death by hanging, must be carried out within 30 days. And we're joined now from Baghdad by NPR's Corey Flintoff.

Corey, the news from Baghdad - other news - is that there's been quite a bit of violence there. Is there any connection, do you think?

COREY FLINTOFF: I don't think so. The violence that we've had - and it's been in the form of car bombs, some very serious car bombs - took place before the verdict was read and at that point we didn't know that there was going to be a verdict today.

We anticipated that there'd be some sort of curfew to suppress any violence on the - especially on the part of Sunnis who may be former supporters of Saddam's. But so far, we've heard nothing about that.

ADAMS: Any other option here? Is this the last word indeed in terms of what's going to happen to Saddam Hussein?

FLINTOFF: The head of the appeals court said there are no other options. He said no one else in the country has authority to overturn the conviction or to, you know, reduce the sentence for Saddam Hussein. It has to be approved by the president or ratified by the president, Jalal Talabani, and he personally opposes the death sentence but in other death sentence cases, he's allowed his vice president to sign the death warrant in his stead.

ADAMS: This death sentence by hanging is for one case. There are other cases, of course, that prosecutors had planned to bring against Saddam Hussein. One's in progress now. What happens to all the rest of that legal action?

FLINTOFF: Well, the one that's in progress right now is probably the biggest one. It's a genocide trial against Saddam for the so-called Anfal Campaign in the late 1980s where he's and his government are alleged to have gassed whole villages, whole Kurdish villages in the north and killed tens of thousands of people. That trial has been going on now for a couple of months. It will continue to go on, apparently, but it's over as far as Saddam is concerned. If - Once this appeals court decision has been made, that 30-day clock starts to tick.

ADAMS: Difficult to know what's going to happen but what could happen with the - at the time that Saddam Hussein is hanged in the country with regard to security, reaction?

FLINTOFF: Well, you know, there was expected to be an upsurge in violence no matter which way the decision went. If Saddam's conviction had been overturned, Shiites who were oppressed under his regime would have been furious. Now that the conviction has been upheld, it's expected that Sunnis and Sunni insurgents and former Baathists will be enraged. And the U.S. military and the Iraqi government are both bracing for at least an upsurge in violent attacks.

ADAMS: NPR's Corey Flintoff talking with us from Baghdad. Thank you, Corey.

FLINTOFF: Thank you, Noah.

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