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British Finance Minister Condemns Manner of Saddam's Execution


British Finance Minister Gordon Brown has condemned the way deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was executed by Iraqi authorities.

In an interview with British television broadcast Sunday, Brown says the taunting of Saddam in the execution chamber was "deplorable" and "completely unacceptable."

He is the latest of many officials from various countries to strongly criticize the execution.

A mobile phone video of the execution shows observers chanting the name of an Iraqi Shi'ite cleric and shouting "go to hell" shortly before Saddam was hanged December 30.

Brown is considered a favorite to take over as British prime minister when Tony Blair steps down later this year. Mr. Blair has so far declined to comment on Saddam's execution, but says he will address the issue this week.

In another development, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging Iraq's government to suspend plans to execute Saddam's two co-defendants: his half-brother, Barzan al-Tikriti, and former chief judge, Awad al-Bander.

An Iraqi court sentenced them to death along with Saddam for ordering the killing of 148 Shi'ites in the village of Dujail in 1982, in retaliation for a failed attempt on Saddam's life. Iraqi officials have not yet announced a date for the executions.

In a letter sent to Iraq's U.N. representative, Hamid Al Bayati, Saturday, Mr. Ban appeals for Iraq to show restraint and respect for international humanitarian and human rights laws. Mr. Ban has declined to condemn or defend Saddam's execution.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said international criticism of the hanging will not deter his government from punishing other officials of the ousted government.

But, Iraqi leaders have strongly criticized the taunting of Saddam and have promised to investigate the unauthorized mobile phone recording of the hanging. Iraqi authorities are questioning at least two guards suspected of involvement.

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

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