Saddam: One Year Later - 12.31.2007

[UPDATE: Thanks to a watchful reader who caught an error on our part, Saddam’s statue was pulled down in Firdos Square, not Tahrir Square, thanks Mary!
Editor’s note: This is one of the first entries written almost entirely by Bureau Chief Omar Abdullah, please let us know what you think about the slightly different format!]

Video - Baghdad, Iraq - It was heard from many people in Iraq that they were tortured by the ex-Iraqi intelligence, or Mukhabarat, and what is really interesting is that some of the survivors are talking about their torture in those days. What the Iraqi Intelligence used to do is to take people under that name of interrogation so they would keep them in prison cells in unknown areas, and some of the those cells are still being found until today.

They are distributed all over Iraq, along with the mass graves that are still being found until this day. Many people are still wondering what happened to the nameless corpses that were found in those mass graves. Some people were kept for over 20 years in prison cells underground. One of the most famous prisons was found after the Occupation. It was built beneath Tahrir Square. The prisoners in there were kept for more then a decade and a half, when the Iraqi people freed these prisoners they thought at first that the Iraq-Iran war was finally over and the Iranians won the war and occupied Iraq!

So many torture stories and so many illegal detention stories will be heard from Iraqis being captured by the ex-Iraqi government. This week we spoke with two of them, one of whom the father of correspondent Nabeel Kamal.

The main Intelligence Department during the Saddam Hussein regime was near Al-Nasour Square, they used to keep many of the prisoner in that facility, and this number was very large. There were more than fifteen thousand prisoners, some of them were released before the Occupation and some of them were released afterward.

Most of the detainees under the ex-Iraqi government were detained due to their different opinions or opposition to the government. For example, if someone said I hate Saddam in a public place, that person will get detained, tortured, or executed. There were also some other reasons like being in a different political party than the Ba’ath party, disagreeing with one of the people close to Saddam, or opposing the draft for military service, and many other reasons.

In Baghdad there were lot of Iraqi detainees and most of them were Shi’as, due to the refusal of the ex-Iraqi government to allow them to practice their religious acts. This is the reason that many Shi’as in Baghdad support demonstrations in Baghdad and the Imams of many mosques were detained due to there speeches about Saddam preventing their religious practices.

Despite all of these things, there are still many Iraqis who question the execution of Saddam Hussein. These Iraqis cite the problems of the trial, the sudden nature of the execution, and even the concurrence of the execution with the holiday of Eid Al-Adha.

Isam Rasheed interviewed two men who spoke about their feelings and impressions regarding Saddam Hussein’s execution, and this week we look back at his eventual end, and some of the acts that brought him to such an end.


Alive in Baghdad correspondents such as Isam Rasheed and Nabeel Kamal will continue to bring stories of daily life in Baghdad, as well as the difficulties of Iraqis living in surrounding countries. Please consider becoming a paying subscriber or making a donation above to Alive in Baghdad, and support our Iraqi staff who continue to work under these difficult circumstances.

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