US Halts Hanging of Convicted Saddam Chief

Official says his work 'saved American lives'
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2007 4:07 PM CDT
Hashem Ahmad al-Tai was Saddam Hussein's last defense minister.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The US stopped Saddam's defense chief from hanging last month, claiming Iraqi outrage inspired the pardon — but insiders say that Sultan Hashem earned his reprieve by thwarting Iraqi attacks during the 2003 US-led invasion. Officials tell Time that Hashem’s execution would be a “gross miscarriage of justice” since his work “saved American lives.”

The US even tried to install Hashem in Iraq's government, a CIA officer says. But a Patraeus spokesman now concedes that Hashem will hang for leading the savage Anfal Campaign, which included chemical strikes on Kurdish civilians. An Iraqi official says that "it will happen" after the Ramadan fast and Eid holiday end on Saturday.