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More arrests expected from Hussein execution video

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• NEW: At least two more arrests expected, national security adviser says
Interior Ministry: Detained guard works under Sunni-led Justice Ministry
Official: Iraq will not make similar mistakes in upcoming executions
Official says execution was "infiltrated"
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- At least two more arrests are expected in connection with cell-phone video of the moments before Saddam Hussein was hanged, Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie said Wednesday.

The video showed Shiites taunting the former dictator, a Sunni, moments before he was executed.

A security guard present at the execution has been detained and was being questioned, said Sadiq al-Rikabi, an adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The person is "the same person that leaked the footage to Internet sites and television stations," al-Rikabi said. (Watch why guard was detained Video)

"The decision to press charges against him and the type of punishment he faces will depend on whether this individual acted alone and in the spur of the moment or whether he planned beforehand and acted in coordination with others outside the court like media or political organizations," al-Rikabi said.

The video has angered moderate Sunnis and other Iraqis who are criticizing the way al-Maliki's government handled the execution.

The images fed Sunni fears that Hussein's death was a sectarian lynching by the Shiite-led government, rather than a legitimate execution.

U.S. officials tried to delay the execution, fearing it would fuel perceptions the death of the former Iraqi dictator was more about Shiite retribution than about justice. (Full story)

The detained guard is an employee of the prison's directorate under the Justice Ministry, said Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf.

The Justice Ministry is led by a Sunni, Hashim al-Shibli, who is a member of the Iraq National Accord, which is led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

This fact raised suspicions that the video was meant to inflame sectarian tensions, Khalaf said.

Allawi, who has threatened to pull out his ministers from the government in the past, has been critical of al-Maliki's government and what he has described on several occasions as its "sectarian bent."

Al-Shibli left Iraq for Amman, Jordan, on Thursday before the execution and is expected to return Sunday.

Lost in translation

Al-Rubaie, the national security adviser, who was an official observer at the hanging,said the execution was "not a sectarian lynching" but that some of the behavior in the execution chamber was "unacceptable." (Watch as al-Rubaie describes what went on inside execution chamber Video)

"I believe there was an infiltration to the crowd inside the chamber," al-Rubaie told CNN.

"These people have done a lot of harm, and I honestly believe that this may well have been planned by one of these Arab television channels infiltrating, and probably this video has been sold to this Arab television station," he said without naming a station.

Al-Rubaie said there were people in the execution chamber whom he could not account for and who did not seem to be part of the execution team.

"I believe the Iraqi government has done the proper thing," he said. "But things went -- not in the way we wanted to happen. There was some behavior which was unacceptable from some people, but some of them -- some of this reaction -- were a natural reaction that should not have happened."

Iraqi prosecutor Munqith Faroon, who was present at the execution, said he saw two Iraqi officials holding their cell phones in the air to capture the images and sound of Hussein's hanging.

"To be precise, the officials whom I saw filming the execution were in the group of 12 officials that accompanied myself and Judge Munir Haddad to the execution," Faroon said.

When asked about the Iraqi guard suspected of filming and releasing the contentious images, Faroon said, "Maybe a guard also filmed it secretly, but I did not see that."

He said he was misquoted by The New York Times, which reported Faroon identified al-Rubaie as one of the two Iraqi officials he witnessed filming the hanging.

The paper, which removed the story from its Web site, said it will print a correction in Thursday's paper. Al-Rubaie attributed the error to a mistranslation from Arabic to English.

All cell phones were supposed to have been confiscated before the execution, al-Rubaie said.

Asked why the execution was not delayed until the cell phones were confiscated, al-Rubaie said he did not know who would have had the authority to do that.

"I don't know who was in charge of the whole operation to stop it," he said.

Al-Rubaie said some of the guards securing the chambers were carrying cell phones -- and possibly some of the executioners -- but said he did not see who was videotaping the hanging because he "was busy looking at Saddam."

Whoever leaked the video "meant harm to the national unity of Iraq," said al-Rubaie, and noted there were a few people inside the chamber whom he did not witness going through the security process.

Reaction to the video has been "blown out of proportion," and is "trivial" when compared with Hussein's crimes, said al-Rubaie.

Upcoming executions

Iraqi officials will be "very careful" that a repeat of the "mistakes" of the Hussein hanging does not happen in conducting the upcoming executions of two other members of Hussein's regime, said al-Rikabi, the adviser to al-Maliki.

No date has been set for the execution of Barzan Hassan, Hussein's half-brother, and Awwad Bandar, the former chief judge of the Revolutionary Court. As was Hussein, they were found guilty for their roles in the 1982 massacre of Shiite villagers in Dujail.

The executions will take place some time after the close of the Eid al-Adha holiday, which ends Sunday, al-Rikabi said. (Watch how video of Hussein's humiliation is outraging Sunnis Video)

'The man is being executed'

Official government video of the execution was released without sound and ends when the noose is put around Hussein's neck.

But the crude cell-phone video leaked less than 24 hours later goes much further -- showing bitter exchanges between Hussein and his Shiite guards.

After Hussein offers prayers, the guards shout praise for Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric whose father is believed to have been murdered by Hussein's regime.

They chant, "Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada!"

Hussein smiles. "Is this how you show your bravery as men?" he asks.

"Straight to hell," someone shouts back at him.

"Is this the bravery of Arabs?" Hussein asks.

A sole voice is heard trying to silence the taunts.

"Please, I am begging you not to," the unknown man says. "The man is being executed."

Faroon, the chief prosecutor, said that was his voice. "I personally shouted at them and said there is no need, and kept on shouting and my voice is clear in the recording, I think," he said.

Another shout, "Long live Mohammed Baqir Sadr," referred to a relative of Muqtada al-Sadr and a founder of the Shiite Dawa movement, who was executed by the Hussein regime. Dawa is al-Maliki's party.

The taunts continued, and the trapdoor dropped shortly after 6 a.m. Saturday. Hussein was hanged. (Watch Hussein's last moments Video)

Immediately after, Shiite witnesses danced around his body, chanting celebratory slogans.

CNN's Sam Dagher, Arwa Damon and Yousif Bassel contributed to this report.


story.saddam.phone.afp.gi.jpg

This image was taken from a cell-phone video of Saddam Hussein's execution.

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