Monday, January 15, 2007

Why the hangman decapitated Saddam's henchman...?

Another botched brutal hanging in Baghdad. This time the executioners managed to cock up so badly that one of the men being hanged was horrifically decapitated.

Seeing the photos of Saddam on the gallows over the New Year, I noticed that the rope round his neck was coiled, American cowboy fashion.

I recall once reading the biography of Pierrepont, the last British hangman, in which he described a different arrangement to ensure that the neck was broken the instant the hanged person fell through the trap-door.

I remember the grim descriptions by Pierrepont (a Yorkshire publican who inherited the job from his father) of the calculations he used to ensure the length of "drop" - and I believe the counter-weight - were correct. It was all based on the bodyweight of the person to be hanged.

I'd certainly recommend that the Iraqi hangmen borrow Pierrepont's biography from their local library if they are planning any further hangings.

One of those present at today's executions, public prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi, told the BBC that when the trap door opened, he could only see the rope dangling.

"I thought the convict Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti (Saddam's half brother) had escaped the noose. I shouted that he's escaped the noose, go down and look for him. I went down a few steps ahead of the others to see: I found out that his head had separated from his body."

According to the BBC, Iraqi Government officials insisted the decapitation of Barzan was not abnormal, although it was rare for the head to be severed during hanging. One described it as "an act of God".

How can decapitation be abnormal, but rare for the head to be severed..?

Totally bizarre. Totally barbaric.


Anonymous said...

I felt sick reading about the decapitation - never mind the hanging which also makes me feel ill. Barbaric act.........

Anonymous said...

He was a scumbag. And he is dead. The rest I don't care about. The only person I have sympathy for(aside from the people this scumbag slaughtered) is the cleaner.

The method for breaking the neck that you mention was established in the 19th century. Whilst scientific, it is not always certain that the head will not be severed in some cases. There are of course other variables..strength of the rope, strength of the neck, trajectory of the corpse to be at the moment of tension with the noose, strength of the rope and so on.

Anonymous said...

Is there anything or anyone you do care about, Michael?

Anonymous said...

The people who died at the hands of this monster. Read it again Brynley, this time with your eyes open.

Anonymous said...

Michael, I'm asking do you ever, as a regular contributor to this blog, have anything positive to say on any subject at all?

Shamik Das said...

I don't know about Mr Oakeshott's other contributions, but on this point he's spot on.

There's nothing more annoying than a bunch of Western liberals (like Liz) crying into their lattes about the "unfair trials", "miscarriages of justice" and "harsh sentences" visited upon some of the vilest individuals ever to have walked the Earth.

Where was the sympathy for the victims of these men? Why didn't they feel "sick" or "ill" about the treatment meted out by Saddam's regime on the Iraqi people?? And for what reason did they prefer Iraq to remain a brutal dictatorship rather than become a democracy???

Anonymous said...

Yes Brynley. This execution. A very "positive" move. If "positive" is lefty speak for "things Brynley agrees with", then I should bloody well hope not. Now when you have stop crying tears for the multiple murderer, I will continue to support the democratically elected Iraqi Government's efforts to bring justice to Iraq(positivity see?). I will support President Bush and Israel as they confront Iran over its terrible ambitions(positivity...).

I would not worry about these executions. There will be hundreds of them. I am sure the Iraqi Government will get good with all that practice. And if not, then I won't be losing any sleep at the pain of these scumbags.

Anonymous said...

I thought not.

Anonymous said...

Pierrepont was a piece of dog excrement. He had personally murdered a great many who would probably have recieved far more lenient punishments today. The man was a pig, and his comments regarding the last woman the pervert murdered are more than sufficient to suggest that the piece of excrement was on the lowest order of human evolution. I feel somewhat dubious as to the worth of a person who would willingly kill others under a legal system that is KNOWN to get things wrong!! Pierrepont was no better than the executioners that worked for Hussain. Sadly we can't hang the bastard and rip his head of. Pierrepont, in his self-glorified role as murderer for the state, killed at least 2 innocent people and many other who did not deserve to die. Personally I hope that hell exists, at least for scum like Pierrepont. I personally will be doing my best to see that the offical records paint the pig with the disrespect he deserves.