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General News
Hussein''s half-brother, other co-defendant hanged 1/15/2007
Story Highlights• NEW: Two men begged not to be hanged, Iraqi official says
• NEW: "They asked God for forgiveness," official says
• Two executed for roles in killing of 148 men and boys in 1982
• Hangman''s noose decapitates one of the condemned men

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Saddam Hussein''s half-brother and the chief judge under his Baath Party regime were apologetic and begged not to be hanged as they went to the gallows early Monday for their roles in the killings of 148 men and boys after a 1982 assassination attempt, an Iraqi government official said.

Barzan Hassan, the former chief of Hussein''s secret police, and Awad Bandar, the chief judge under the former regime, were hanged about 3 a.m. Monday (7 p.m. Sunday ET), said Basam Ridha, the spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki''s office.

The two men, dressed in orange prisoner uniforms, "looked very surprised" that they were actually going to be hanged, Ridha said, who was one of the witnesses.

They "were very apologetic," asking that they not be put to death, he said. "They asked God for forgiveness," he said.

Orange hoods were placed over their heads, unlike Hussein, who asked not to be given a hood when he was hanged on the same gallows on Dec. 30, Ridha said.

Ridha said the executions were carried out with dignity and respect and without the shouted Shia chants and taunting from guards, witnesses and executioners that marred the hanging of Hussein. Everyone in the room was required to sign an agreement promising not to engage in such behavior, Ridha said.

The only unusual aspect was that Hassan''s head became completely separated from his body by the hangman''s noose, he said. He called it "an act of God."

"It was not like a very pretty scene," Ridha said.

The trap doors underneath both men were dropped at the same time, he said.

The government has no plans to make public a video of the executions, Ridha said. Only a silent video of the Hussein hanging was released of that execution. Mobile-phone video of that hanging showed Shiite guards taunting the Sunni ex-dictator on the scaffold, outraging other Sunnis and sparking criticism of the execution as a sectarian lynching.

Plans were being made to give the bodies of Hassan and Bandar to their families for burial, something Ridha said would likely be completed by the end of the day.

Hassan and Bandar were sentenced to death in November for the executions of 148 people from the mostly Shiite Muslim village of Dujail after an unsuccessful attempt to kill Hussein. Their death sentences were upheld by an Iraqi appeals court in December but delayed amid the controversy surrounding Hussein''s Dec. 30 execution.

CNN''s Arwa Damon and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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