Saddam Hussein’s half brother, who was facing the gallows for his role as chief of the regime’s feared security service and allegedly one of the architects of the insurgency against U.S. and allied forces in Iraq, died of cancer on Monday in a Baghdad hospital, a senior official said.
Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim told AP that Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, who had received several death sentences, was transferred to the hospital from prison as his health deteriorated at dawn. His body will be handed over to his family.
Al-Hassan had lived in exile for a period after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, but was deported to Iraq by the Syrian government in 2005. He was suspected of directing and financing insurgency operations from Syria carried out by Saddam loyalists in Iraq.
His photo appeared as the Six of Diamonds in decks of playing cards distributed by the U.S. military featuring members of Saddam’s deposed regime. Al-Hassan was No. 36 on the U.S. list of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis at the time.
Under Saddam, al-Hassan served as head of intelligence and security during the 1991 Gulf War. He then ran the general security service until 1996, when he took up his final post of presidential adviser to Saddam.
His son, Ayman Sabawi Ibrahim, was arrested in Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit and was sentenced to life in prison, but escaped in northern Iraq in late 2006.
Saddam was executed by hanging on Dec. 2006 for his role in the 1982 killings of 148 Shiites following a failed assassination attempt in the early 1980s.