Saddam Hussein’s trusted personal secretary, Abed Hamid Mahmud, once No. 4 on the U.S. most-wanted list in Iraq, was executed by hanging on Thursday, the Iraqi Justice Minister, Haidar al-Saadi, said.
“He was executed today,” Saadi said, adding: “The ministry of justice implemented the execution sentence against the criminal Abed Hmoud... for genocide,” referring to Mahmud by the name Iraqis call him.
Abed Hamid Hmoud was the latest in a series of former senior regime officials who have been executed by Iraq’s new rulers since the toppling of Saddam during a U.S.-led invasion nine years ago. His body was to be handed over to his family later Thursday, officials said.
Hmoud, a distant cousin of Saddam, was captured by U.S. forces in June 2003, three months after the invasion.
At the time, he was No. 4 on the list of wanted regime officials, after only Saddam and sons Qusai and Odai. He was known as the ace of diamonds on the U.S. deck of cards that ranked leaders of Saddam’s government.
In his mid-50s, he was executed for persecuting members of the opposition and religious parties that were banned under Saddam, a court official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case with the media.
Hmoud had also been among 15 high-profile defendants tried for their role in the brutal crushing of a popular uprising after the 1991 Gulf War.
As Saddam’s presidential secretary, Hmoud controlled access to the Iraqi president and was one of the few people he is said to have trusted completely, U.S. officials said in 2003.
He was captured on June 16, 2003, and eventually sentenced to death on October 26, 2010.
The last previous execution of a former regime official took place in January 2010 when Saddam’s notorious cousin, known as “Chemical Ali,” was put to death by hanging. Saddam’s long-term foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, was sentenced to death in 2010 and awaits execution.
Saddam Hussein was hanged on December 30, 2006.
When in power, Saddam was rarely seen without Hmoud, who shadowed the president and was charged with handing down his orders to Iraqi ministries and ensuring his personal safety.