|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
The official witnesses to Saddam Hussein's impending execution gathered Friday in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone in final preparation for his hanging, as state television broadcast footage of his regime's atrocities.
The Iraqi government readied all the necessary documents, including a "red card" — an execution order introduced during Saddam's dictatorship. As the hour of his death approached, Saddam received two of his half brothers in his cell on Thursday and was said to have given them his personal belongings and a copy of his will.
Najeeb al-Nueimi, a member of Saddam's legal team in Doha, Qatar, said he too requested a final meeting with the deposed Iraqi leader. "His daughter in Amman was crying, she said 'Take me with you,'" al-Nueimi said late Friday. But he said their request was rejected.
An adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saddam would be executed before 6 a.m. Saturday, or 10 p.m. Friday EST. Also to be hanged at that time were Saddam's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, the adviser said.
"Saddam will be handed over shortly before the execution," the official said. The physical transfer of Saddam from U.S. to Iraqi authorities was believed to be one of the last steps before he was to be hanged. Saddam has been in U.S. custody since he was captured in December 2003.
Al-Nueimi said U.S. authorities were maintaining physical custody of Saddam to prevent him from being humiliated before his execution. He said the Americans also want to prevent the mutilation of his corpse, as has happened to other deposed Iraqi leaders.
"The Americans want him to be hanged respectfully," al-Nueimi said. If Saddam is humiliated publicly or his corpse ill-treated "that could cause an uprising and the Americans would be blamed," he said.