BAGHDAD, Dec. 30 -- Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was hanged in the predawn hours of Saturday for crimes against humanity in the mass murder of Shiite men and boys in the 1980s, sent to the gallows by a government backed by the United States and led by Shiite Muslims who had been oppressed during his rule, Iraqi and American officials said.
In the early morning, Hussein, 69, was escorted from his U.S. military prison cell at Camp Cropper, near the Baghdad airport, and handed over to Iraqi officials. He was executed on the day Sunni Muslims, of which he was one, were to begin celebrating the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.
Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser, described on state television Hussein's last moments. The execution took place in the headquarters of Hussein's former military intelligence service in Baghdad's Kadhimiyah neighborhood.
"He was frightened. It was clear in his face, but he turned his face at me and said, 'Don't be afraid,' " Rubaie said. "It was just like he was talking about himself."
He added that Hussein did not resist. "It was unbelievable. He just surrendered himself."
Only a small group of Iraqi officials were present in the execution room, Rubaie said. American officials waited outside. ~ Sudarsan Raghavan, TWP