Monday, January 15, 2007

Losing Your Head

Saddam Hussein's co-defendants have been hanged.

Unfortunately, his half-brother had to lose his head over it:

Saddam Hussein's half-brother, Barzan al-Tikriti, was decapitated as he was hanged.

He and Awad Hamad al-Bandar, a top judge under Saddam, were convicted over the killing of 148 Shias in the 1980s.

The country's president Jalal Talabani had urged their executions be delayed.

Government officials said the decapitation of Barzan was not abnormal, although it was rare for the head to be severed during hanging. One described it as "an act of God".

One of those present, public prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi, told the BBC that when the trap door opened, he could only see the rope dangling.

"I thought the convict Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti had escaped the noose. I shouted that he's escaped the noose, go down and look for him. I went down a few steps ahead of the others to see: I found out that his head had separated from his body."

Death penalty opponents have taken a different approach in recent years, by playing up every mishandling of an execution in which the condemned suffers a little more pain than is necessary as proof of the barbaric nature of the penalty.

Decapitation during a hanging, however, is not proof of the inhumanity of the death penalty any more than breaking one's leg skiing is proof of the inhumanity of skiing.

Both arise out of unfortunate accident or technical incompetence. The lesson to be drawn is not to give up the death penalty, but to improve on technique.

Source: BBC

1 comment:

kursk said...

One of the reasons why that at every hanging, there is sawdust placed beneath the trap door..