Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan: Head of Iraqi security under Saddam


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The Independent Online

Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, who died on 8 July of cancer at the age of 66, was Saddam Hussein's half-brother who was facing the gallows for his role as chief of the regime's feared security service and one of the alleged architects of the insurgency against US and allied forces in Iraq.

The country's deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim said al-Hassan, who had received several death sentences, had been transferred to a Baghdad hospital from prison as his health deteriorated.

Al-Hassan fled to Syria after the 2003 US-led invasion but he was deported to Iraq by the Syrian government in 2005 after being arrested in February that year, suspected of directing and financing insurgency operations from Syria carried out by Saddam loyalists in Iraq. A $1m reward had been offered for information leading to his capture or death. Syria has been repeatedly accused of protecting former Iraqi officials, a charge the Assad government has always denied.

His photo appeared as the Six of Diamonds in the decks of playing cards distributed by the US military featuring wanted members of Saddam's deposed regime. He was No 36 on the US list of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis.

Born on 27 February 1947 in Tikrit, Saddam's home town, al-Hassan served under Saddam as head of intelligence and security during the 1991 Gulf War. He then ran the general security service until 1996, when he took up his final post of presidential adviser to Saddam.

His son, Ayman Sabawi Ibrahim, was arrested in Tikrit and was sentenced to life in prison, but he escaped in northern Iraq in late 2006. One of his brothers, Watban Ibrahim al-Tikriti, was sentenced to death, while another, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, was executed in 2007. Saddam was hanged in December 2006 for his role in the 1982 killings of 148 Shiites following a failed assassination attempt.