Saddam executes dozens of 'plotters'

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The Independent Online
DOZENS of top Iraqis detained in July and August in connection with an alleged plot against the regime of Saddam Hussein have been executed in recent days, according to the authoritative New York-based Middle East Watch, writes Charles Richards.

The human rights organisation stated that, beginning on 10 November, relatives of those detained were summoned to the Baghdad offices of Amn al-Khas (Special Security), the apparatus controlled by President Saddam's son Qusai, on the pretext they would meet some of the detainees.

According to Middle East Watch, when they arrived they were told to go and pick up the corpses from the mortuaries. Each had been executed with a bullet behind the left ear. Official death certificates gave the cause of death as 'heart attacks'.

Families to whom bodies were returned last week were forbidden to hold traditional burial ceremonies, or to make any public reference to the executions.

Most of those executed were from the cream of Iraqi society. Most were senior figures from the most prominent Sunni families of Tikrit and Mosul, which provide the bedrock of support for President Saddam's regime. The most prominent was Jassem Mukhlis, 72, a lawyer and former ambassador. He was the son of Mowloud Mukhlis, a founder of modern Iraq, who promoted the townsmen of Tikrit to head the main institutions of the state. President Saddam, himself from Tikrit, thus benefited from the policy.

Others reported executed include Sofr Mukhlis, brother of Jassem Mukhlis; Bashir al-Taleb, a retired major-general from a prominent Mosul family; Raji al-Tikriti, former president of the Iraqi Medical Association; and Abdul Karim Hani, the former minister and administrator of a private Baghdad hospital.