***Bumped and Updated***
Update 4:22pm: From Fox News: Saddam’s attorneys are asking a US judge, which one I don’t know, to block Saddam’s transfer from US custody to the Iraqis. One, according to an Iraqi MP, the transfer already took place; and Two, the United States judiciary does not have any jurisdiction over what happens in Iraq. Then again, with some of the liberal activist judges, you never know. Saddam’s case could end up being fought out in US courts.
Update 3:41pm: According to ABC News, Saddam will be in a combination of Iraq/US custody and will be guarded by US troops even as his execution is carried out.
Update 2:47pm: Fox New just spoke with an Iraqi government official (Fox named that official but I didn’t catch it) that Saddam has been now been handed over to Iraqi authorities, that all documents have been signed and finalized by the Prime Minister, and that Saddam’s execution is imminent.
Fox News is sure of this information.
Update 2:41pm: Bob at Confederate Yankee has confirmation from a confidential source about 45 minutes ago who says that Saddam will be executed at midnight Baghdad time Saturday or 4:00pm ET Friday. Well, we’ll find out soon enough.
Update 2:20pm: Curt at Flopping Aces makes an important distinction here regarding custody:
I think this may be all a case of semantics. Legal custody may have been transferred to the Iraqi’s via documents but not physical.
Oh btw….sunrise in Baghdad is 7:05am Iraqi time. 9 and a half hours from now.
Curt also links to Mohammad at Iraq the Model, who writes that an “al-Arabiya reporter said the noose is already set in a yard in the IZ.”
He also offers these updates:
-Tariq Harb, Iraq’s most famous judicial expert who’s been following and commenting on the trial since the beginning said he expected the execution to take place in the next few hours.
-The Sadrist said they would return to the cabinet and parliament after Saddam is executed.
-Bahaa’ al-Aaraji, a Sadrist and member of the parliament’s legal commission told al-Iraqiya TV that two execution sites have been prepared; one in the IZ and one in another location he wouldn’t disclose.
-Al-Aaraji told al-Iraqiya TV that the government is asking clerics whether it’s allowed to carry out executions during religious holidays. He added that he expects Saddam to be executed no later than noon tomorrow.
Breaking Right Now: James Rosen at Fox News says that US sources are telling him that Saddam is still in US custody. Well, this changes everything, at least for now. Saddam’s attorneys are saying otherwise. Could this be misinformation by the US trying to quell any uprising? Who knows.
Update: 1:05pm: From Reuters:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Saddam Hussein could be hanged within hours, a senior Iraqi source told Reuters on Friday after Saddam’s lawyer said the former president had been handed over by U.S. forces to Iraqi authorities for execution.
“Things have changed in the past three hours. There were some issues … and now that is resolved so it seems it’s possible he may be hanged tonight,” the source, who is in a senior position of authority, said after a day of confusion.
Update 12:42pm: Saddam has not yet been executed. One of Saddam’s attorneys Najeeb al Nauimi is on Fox News via telephone right now and it sounds like Saddam will be executed early morning tomorrow. His attorneys are making arrangements for his body to be handed over to his family afterward.
Saddam’s execution will be videotaped. Al Nauimi says that Saddam will be very proud and will be smiling when he’s led to the gallows.
Al Nauimi also said that Saddam’s family asked to visit with Saddam before his execution, but their request was denied. The access to Saddam has got to be really tight.
Update 12:34pm: Jules Crittenden has contacts with contractors in Iraq who are saying it may have already happened.
I was writing those words above when my buddy Sig called, maybe around 11 p.m. last night. His contractor pals in Iraq figure it’s already happened. Sig, a San Antonio Express-News reporter in the invasion with three or four more trips to Iraq behind him, honored me by calling me first when he wanted to talk about it.
Saddam Dead by Tomorrow?
Update 12:21pm: Fox is now reporting that it has just crossed the AP wire that Iraqi PM Al-Maliki has signed Saddam’s death sentence. This thing is going fast and furious.
Update 11:55am Friday:
A Reuters report says that Saddam has been transferred to Iraq custody:
DUBAI (Reuters) – U.S. officials have transferred former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to Iraqi custody, the chief defense lawyer told Reuters on Friday.
“The American side has notified us that they have handed over the president to the Iraqi authorities,” said Khalil al-Dulaimi, head of Saddam’s defense team.
Fox News has also confirmed with Saddam’s chief lawyer that Saddam Hussein is now in the custody of the Iraq government. Fox is also reporting that an Iraqi judge says Saddam will be hanged tomorrow.
I’m sure Saddam’s lawyer is leaking all this information to gin up as much unrest as possible and to possibly get insurgents to try to break him out of custody.
I don’t blame the Iraqis for wanting to execute Saddam as soon as possible. As long as Saddam Hussein is alive, he is risk for being broken out of prison and, with the Iraq government being as new as it is, a coup by Saddam’s supporters is simply too much of a risk.
Fox News has confirmed with the US military that Saddam will be handed over to the Iraq government today. He could be hanged within 24 hours after that, possibly as early as later today.
NBC is reporting that Saddam is to be hanged before the Eid holiday, which starts Sunday.
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, sentenced to death for his role in 148 killings in 1982, will have his sentence carried out by Sunday, NBC News reported Thursday. According to a U.S. military officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, Saddam will be hanged before the start of the Eid religious holiday, which begins this Sunday.
The hanging could take place as early as Friday, NBC’s Richard Engel reported.
The U.S. military received a formal request from the Iraqi government to transfer Saddam to Iraqi authorities, NBC reported on Thursday, which is one of the final steps required before his execution. His sentence, handed down last month, ordered that he be hanged within 30 days.
Tomorrow isn’t soon enough as far as I’m concerned. Let’s just hope that when Saddam’s transferred to Iraqi authorities, which could have happened already, someone from the inside who sympathizes with him doesn’t help him escape from custody.
Hat tip: See-Dubya at Hot Air
Update: Saddam’s hanging will be video taped although officials say it may not be made public:
Iraqi officials also said that Saddam’s final moments will be videotaped by the government, reports CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston.
“We will video everything,” National Security adviser Mouffak al Rubaie said. “All documentation will be videoed. Taking him from cell to the execution is going to be videoed, and the actual execution will be documented and videoed.”
Iraqis, members of the coalition and international representatives will witness the execution, Pinkston reports. It’s not clear whether the videotape will be broadcast on Iraqi television.
All this means we can expect it to be on YouTube at some point.