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Saddam half-brothers to be executed within a month

Baghdad: Five Saddam-era officials, including two of the late dictator`s half-brothers, will be executed within a month after being handed over to Iraqi authorities by the US military, an official said on Friday.

The group, transferred to Iraqi custody yesterday morning, were among 206 high-value detainees still being held by American forces ahead of a US military pullout due by the end of the year.

"We received the final 206 Iraqi prisoners being held by US forces, including five senior officials from the former regime," said justice ministry spokesman Haidar al-Saadi. "They (the five officials) will be executed within one month.

"They include Watban Ibrahim Hassan and Sabawi Ibrahim al-Tikriti," two half-brothers of former dictator Saddam Hussein. Also among the group handed over and slated to be executed were former defence minister Sultan Hashem Ahmad and ex-generals Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti and Aziz Saleh Numan.

The five had been sentenced to death in different trials. "Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari visited with the presidency council earlier this week and they agreed not to delay the ratification of their condemnation to death," he said.

"We believe that the council will sign the documents within days and they will be executed within one month." Under Iraqi law, all death sentences must be formally approved by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, or by either of his two vice presidents. The 206 prisoners transferred were being held by US forces at a detention facility on Baghdad`s outskirts, formerly known as Camp Cropper. Though the site was handed over to Iraq on July 15, 2010, American soldiers were charged with holding the group of high-value detainees.

Saddam, who was deposed in a 2003 US-led invasion, himself spent three years in Camp Cropper until his execution on December 2006.

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