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Egyptian President Criticizes Timing, Events of Saddam Hanging


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has criticized the timing and events surrounding the execution of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

In an interview published in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Mr. Mubarak said he wrote U.S. President George Bush and asked that the execution not be carried out during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Germany, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, reiterated Friday the EU's opposition to the death penalty.

Additionally, the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe called for an immediate end to executions in Iraq and for the abolition of the death penalty there.

Two of Saddam's co-defendants have been sentenced to death. No date has been announced for those executions.

In the newspaper interview, Mr. Mubarak said Saddam's execution was shameful and very painful. He criticized what he called the shocking, primitive pictures of the execution.

Grainy video showed Saddam being taunted by onlookers before the execution, and then him dangling from the rope afterward.

Mr. Mubarak said he was not going to discuss whether Saddam deserved to die or whether the court that tried and sentenced him was legal under an occupation. He said the execution turned Saddam into a martyr while the problems in Iraq remain.

President Bush said Thursday he wished that Saddam's execution had been carried out in a "more dignified" manner, but he added that he believes justice was served.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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