'I was shocked': Iraqis remember day Saddam Hussein was hanged

This screen grab taken from Iraqi national television station Al-iraqia shows the moments leading up to the execution of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein on December 30, 2006.

Story highlights

  • Friday marks the 10th anniversary of Saddam Hussein's death
  • Iraqis spoke to CNN about their memories of that day

(CNN)On the morning of the start of Eid al-Adha on December 30, 2006, Saddam Hussein was hanged to death for committing crimes against humanity.

It's a day that will forever be entrenched in the memory of Iraqis who watched their ruthless leader walk towards the gallows and have a noose tightened around his neck.
    Hussein, who ruled Iraq from 1979 until his overthrow and capture by a US-led coalition in 2003, was accused by an Iraqi court of committing numerous massacres during his rule. These included the 1982 slaughter of Shias in the town of Dujail and the 1988 Halabja massacre, in which he used chemical weapons against a Kurdish town that dared to rise against him.
    Families of victims celebrated his death, while other Iraqis felt deeply saddened by the jarring footage of a vulnerable man who once was the president of their country.
    A number of Iraqis, many of whom were children in 2006, spoke to CNN about their memories and feelings on the day Hussein was executed 10 years ago.

    Amina Ahmad, 27

    Ahmad was in her home in Mosul when Saddam Hussein was executed. While she believed the deposed leader was a dictator, she felt that his hanging was a punishment for all of Iraqis. Ahmad, an aid worker, now lives in Irbil after ISIS took over her city two years ago. This is what she remembers from the day Saddam was executed:
    I was young. I had no interest in politics. I surely felt very sad. I started crying because it wasn't about Saddam himself but I felt they executed Iraq. I know that Saddam Hussein was a dictator to be honest, but he represented Iraq, he was the president of Iraq. When other countries come in and take [Saddam] down and then they execute him, you feel like that's it, Iraq is done. They executed the president, he represents your country and they kind of humiliated your country.
    It was the same feeling [I got] when the US army came to Baghdad. There was big statue of Saddam. One of the US soldiers wiped Saddam's face with the American flag and took it down. All of us were like ' who is this person to take the statue down? This is our country, this is our own business.' Because we didn't ask for any of this. I know we were living under a dictator, but we didn't ask anyone to come and do this damage to our country.
    First, we were afraid of only one person, [Saddam]. If you don't talk bad about him or his family, then you are safe. After that it was a complete chaos. The situation is not getting any better. I am from Mosul and you know how the situation is like. Everything is destroyed.
    US troops topple a statue of Saddam Hussein on April 9, 2003, in Baghdad.

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