The United Nations top human rights official has called on Iraqi authorities not to execute two aides to former president Saddam Hussein, saying concerns over the trial process also applied in their cases.
An official in the Iraqi prime minister's office said earlier Wednesday that Saddam's half-brother and former head of intelligence, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, and Awad Ahmed al-Bandar, the former chief judge of the revolutionary court, will be hanged at dawn on Thursday. "Their documents have been signed and they will be executed Thursday," the source told AFP, adding that the pair is still in the custody of US authorities.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said in a statement that concerns she had voiced over the fairness and impartiality of Saddam's trial also applied in this case. "I have therefore today directly appealed to the President of the Republic of Iraq to refrain from carrying out these sentences."
Arbour's earlier call for restraint in the case of Saddam's execution fell on deaf ears.
Iraqi authorities, meanwhile, arrested a guard present during Saddam's execution as part of a probe into how film of the hanging leaked to the Internet and triggered widespread protests in Iraq and the international community.