December 27, 2006

Hundreds of Iraqis Apply to be Hangman

An Iraqi judge has rejected Saddam Hussein's appeal and ruled that the cruel dictator must hang within 30 days and hundreds of Iraqis want to pull the gallows lever. There is no official job of "hangman" in Iraq, and an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says the government has not officially advertised for the job. The executioner, moreover, will remain anonymous because Saddam's execution could inflame tensions in a country where people die every day in sectarian violence. But hundreds of Iraqis have inquired about the hangman's job. The adviser, Bassam al-Husseiny, told the US network ABC News that he received about eight to 10 phone calls a day -- and 20 to 30 e-mails -- by Iraqis who wanted to execute Saddam. The candidates came from all three of the country's major religions and from all walks of life, he said -- from high-level government officials to "the tea boy." A White House spokesman in Washington called the ruling a milestone in Iraq's efforts "to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law."