x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Ex-Saddam Hussein aide executed in Iraq

Saddam Hussein's trusted personal secretary, once No 4 on the US most-wanted list in Iraq, was executed by hanging, the Iraqi justice ministry said.

BAGHDAD // Saddam Hussein's trusted personal secretary, once No 4 on the US most-wanted list in Iraq, was executed by hanging, the Iraqi justice ministry said.

Abed Hamid Hmoud was the latest former senior official from Saddam's regime to be executed by Iraq's new rulers. His body was to be handed over to his family yesterday, officials said.

Hmoud, a distant cousin of Saddam, was captured by US forces in June 2003, three months after the US-led invasion. At the time, he was on the list of most-wanted regime officials, after only Saddam and sons Qusai and Odai. He was known as the ace of diamonds on the US deck of cards that ranked leaders of Saddam's government.

Hmoud, in his mid-50s, was executed for persecuting members of the Shiite opposition and religious parties that were banned under Saddam, a court official said. He had also been among 15 high-profile defendants tried for their role in the brutal crushing of a Shiite uprising after the 1991 Gulf War.

As Saddam's presidential secretary, Hmoud controlled access to the Iraqi president and was one of the few people he is said to have trusted completely, US officials said in 2003. Like Saddam, who was executed in 2006, Hmoud was from the northern Iraqi town of Tikrit.

The last execution of a former regime official took place in January 2010 when Saddam's notorious cousin, known as "Chemical Ali", was put to death by hanging. Saddam's long-term foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, was sentenced to death in 2010 and awaits execution.