Mubarak asked Bush to delay Saddam execution
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak has strongly condemned the conduct and timing of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's execution at the start of an Islamic religious holiday and questioned the legality of the sentence, passed by an Iraqi court while the country itself is under U.S. occupation.
In an interview published Friday in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Mubarak said that when it became clear that the hanging was imminent he sent a message to American President George. W. Bush, asking that it not be carried out during the Eid al-Adha holiday.
"Don't do it at this time," Mubarak said he told Bush. "Why is it necessary to hang (him) just at the time when people are saying the holiday prayers."
The insensitive timing, he said was then followed by the clandestine video showing "shocking pictures, primitive pictures" of Saddam being taunted by his Iraqi guards and then dangling from a rope.
"It was disgraceful and very painful," Mubarak told the Israeli newspaper, a few hours ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's meeting with him.
"I'm not going to say whether Saddam deserved the death penalty or not," Mubarak said. "I'm also not going to go into the question of whether that court is legal under the occupation."
"When all's said and done, nobody will ever forget the circumstances and the manner in which Saddam was executed," he added. "They have made him into a martyr, while the problems within Iraq remain."