Iraq executes Saddam top aide
Published Thursday, June 7, 2012
Iraq on Thursday executed Saddam Hussein's presidential secretary and chief bodyguard Abid Hamid Mahmud, justice ministry spokesman Haidar al-Saadi said.
"He was executed today," Saadi said, adding: "The ministry of justice implemented the execution sentence against the criminal Abd Hmoud... for genocide," referring to Mahmud by the name Iraqis call him.
Mahmud was number four on the list of Iraqi officials targeted by American forces following the 2003 US-led invasion, behind only Saddam and his two sons Uday and Qusay.
He was captured on 16 June 2003, and eventually sentenced to death on 26 October 2010 along with former deputy premier Tareq Aziz and ex-interior minister Saadun Shaker, for their role in the crackdown on Shia Muslim religious parties during the 1980s.
Saddam, who was hanged on 30 December 2006, killed a large number of Shia leaders during the 1980-88 war with Iran.
When in power, Saddam was rarely seen without Mahmud, who shadowed the president and was charged with handing down his orders to Iraqi ministries and ensuring his personal safety.
Both men came from the same village of Aujah, just outside Tikrit north of Baghdad.
With his signature beret and moustache, Mahmud's official title was presidential secretary, but a British government dossier said he was responsible for Saddam's personal security, as well as defense, security and intelligence issues.
The dossier said Mahmud, a lieutenant general in the army, "is regarded by some as the real number two figure in the Iraqi leadership," as he controlled access to Saddam and could override government decisions.
Mahmud was seen at Saddam's side in his last appearance on television before his capture, aired on 7 April 2003.
Last August, the lawyer for Aziz – a Christian and close confidant of the executed dictator – quoted him as calling on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to accelerate his execution because of his worsening health.
"His health condition is very poor and he asked me to convey a message to Mr Maliki, calling on him to execute him as soon as possible," Badie Aref told AFP.
"He said this is his wish now... He asked this because of his dangerous health condition. He is suffering."
Aref said at the time Aziz was being treated well in prison, but had diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, prostate problems and stomach ulcers.