Barzan Ibrahim al-Hasan al-Tikriti
(February 17 1951
– January 15
) (sometimes known as: Barazan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Barasan Ibrahem Alhassen) (Arabic
: برزان إبراهيم الحسن التكريتي; Barzān Ibrāhīm al-Ḥasan at-Tikrītī
) was one of three uterine
half-brothers of Saddam Hussein
, and a leader of the Mukhabarat
, the Iraqi intelligence service. Despite falling out of favour with Saddam Hussein at one time, he was believed to have been a presidential adviser at the time of his capture.
- Mohamed Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti (son of Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti)
- Saja Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti (daughter of Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti)
- Ali Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti (son of Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti)
- Noor Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti (daughter of Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti)
- Khawla Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti (daughter of Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti)
- Thoraya Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti (daughter of Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti)
High position in Iraqi government
Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti was a leading figure in the Mukhabarat
, the intelligence service that later turned to another agency performing the duty of Secret Police
, from the 1970s, later taking over as director. During his time in the secret police, Barzan had played a key role in the Iraqi regime's execution of opponents at home and assassinations abroad. He was also known for his ruthlessness and brutality in purging the Iraqi military of anyone seen as disloyal.
Barzan became Iraq's representative to the United Nations in Geneva - including the UN Human Rights Committee - in 1989. He was in Geneva for almost a decade, during which he is believed to have managed clandestine accounts for the Iraqi president's overseas fortune. This task was then taken over by a network of foreign brokers, since Saddam had decided that no one in Iraq could be trusted with this task.
U.S. officials characterized Barzan as a member of what they called "Saddam's Dirty Dozen", responsible for torture and murder in Iraq. American forces captured him on April 17, 2003. Barzan was the five of clubs in the most-wanted Iraqi playing cards.
Barzan was among the leadership figures that US forces targeted during the war. In April 2003, warplanes dropped six satellite-guided bombs on a building in the city of Ramadi
, west of Baghdad, where he was thought to be. Late summer 2003, Barzan Ibrahim was confirmed captured by U.S. Army Special Forces alive with a large entourage of body guards in Baghdad
. He was turned over to Iraq’s Interim Government on June 30, 2004, and was arraigned on the July 1, 2004. The trial started on October 19, 2005.
Trial and courtroom charges
Barzan Ibrahim was a defendant in the Iraq Special Tribunal
's Al-Dujail trial
, and Abd Alsemd Alhusseini
was his defence counsel. At a first stage, Barzan stood trial before a five-judge-panel for the Dujail massacre. He was charged for crimes against humanity, simultaneously with seven other former high officials (Taha Yassin Ramadan
, Saddam Hussein
, Awad Hamed al-Bandar
, Abdullah Kadhem Roweed Al-Musheikhi
, Ali Daeem Ali
, Mohammed Azawi Ali
, Mizher Abdullah Roweed Al-Musheikhi
) who were said to have ordered and overseen the killing, in July 1982, of more than 140 Shiite men from Dujail
, a village 35 miles north of Baghdad. The men were allegedly killed in retribution after an attack on the presidential motorcade as it passed through the village. It was alleged that apart from the killings, hundreds of women and children from the town were jailed for years in internment camps in the desert, and that the date palm groves that sustained the local economy and were the families' livelihood were destroyed.
During the first court session on October 19, 2005, Barzan Ibrahim pleaded not guilty. During his trial, Barzan was known for his angry outbursts in court and was ejected on several occasions.
In the weeks following the first audience, serious security concerns for the defense team of Hussein and the other accused became apparent. On October 21, only 36 hours after the first hearing, a group of unidentified armed men dragged one of the attorneys from his office in east Baghdad and shot him dead. A few days later, the second lawyer was killed in a drive-by shooting, and a third, injured in that attack, subsequently fled Iraq for sanctuary in Qatar.
As a consequence, calls for the trial to be held abroad were heard. The defense lawyers, supported by the Iraqi Bar Association, imposed a boycott on the trial, until their security concerns were met with specific measures. A few days before the trial was to resume, the defense team announced that it had accepted offers of protection from Iraqi and American officials and would appear in court on November 28. The agreement is said to have included the same level of protection that is offered to the Iraqi judges and Prosecutors, with measures such as armored cars and teams of bodyguards.
After a short court session on November 28, 2005, during which some testimony regarding the killings in Dujail was presented, Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin ordered a one-week adjournment until December 5, to grant the defence teams time to find new counsel.
On March 12, 2006, the Prosecutor announced that if Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants were sentenced to death in the Dujail case, the sentence would be carried out as soon as possible. Thus, the other cases for which they are indicted would not be heard in court. On June 19, 2006, the Prosecutor asked the court, in his closing arguments, that the death penalty be imposed upon Barzan Ibrahim, Saddam Hussein and Taha Yassin Ramadan.
On 5 November 2006, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti was sentenced to death by hanging.
A death sentence or life imprisonment generates an automatic appeal. On 3 December 2006, the defence team lodged an appeal against the verdicts for Saddam Hussein, Awad Hamed Al-Bander and Barzan Ibrahim Al-Tikriti, who had been sentenced to death. On 26 December 2006, the appeals chamber confirmed the verdict and the death sentence against Barzan Ibrahim Al-Tikriti.
In November 2006, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani appealed for Barzan to be moved to medical facilities to receive treatment for his spinal cancer. Barzan originally made an appeal from his cell to U.S. President George W. Bush and to Talabani for treatment, referring to the latter as an "old friend".
On January 15, 2007, the death sentence was carried out; Barzan, along with his co-defendants Saddam and the former Chief Justice
of the Iraqi Revolutionary Court Awad Hamed al-Bandar
, were sentenced to death
. He was originally scheduled to hang on December 30 with Saddam (as he and al-Bandar wished) but due to the Eid
, lack of time, and lack of logistics (there was no helicopter to deliver them), as well as international pressure, the hangings were postponed to January 15.
Barzan's sentence was carried out at 00:00 GMT (03:00 in Baghdad) on January 15
. His death was confirmed at 3:05/00:05 GMT. Barzan was decapitated
by the long drop.
Al-Tikriti's and Ahwad al-Bandar's counsel was not allowed to attend, as was the case with Saddam's hanging.
Reaction to the execution
"We were disappointed there was not greater dignity given to the accused under these circumstances."
- - On January 15, in a press briefing by British Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman, in response to a question as to what Blair's reaction was to the "botched hanging" in Iraq, the spokesman said:
"In terms of the death penalty in Iraq, our position on the death penalty is well known, and we had made that position known to the Iraqi Government again since the death of Saddam Hussein. However, Iraq is a sovereign Government, and therefore has a right under international law to decide its own policy on the death penalty."
- Barzan's son-in-law, Azzam Saleh Abdullah, said:
"We heard the news from the media. We were supposed to be informed a day earlier but it seems that this government does not know the rules.". He said the execution reflected the hatred felt by the Shiite-led government; "They still want more Iraqi bloodshed. To hell with this democracy."