Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said early Friday there will be “no review or delay” of Saddam Hussein’s execution. However, confusion abounds as to the timing of the sentence.

Saddam’s defense lawyers have said the hanging could occur as early as Saturday, while American officials maintained that the former dictator remains in U.S. custody, although a senior Iraqi Justice Ministry official argued that it is not up to the U.S. when Saddam is executed, and yet other representatives of the ministry said they can legally do nothing for at least a month.


But [Maliki], who has called for the ousted president [to be] put to death this year for killing and oppressing Shiites, said there would be “no review or delay” in the sentence following this week’s failure of Saddam’s appeal.

And a defense lawyer said he thought Saddam might well die on Saturday after lawyers were told to collect his belongings.

But in a continuation of public confusion at the highest levels and secrecy over the historic proceedings, Iraq’s Justice Ministry, which must carry out the execution, denied it had taken custody of Saddam from his U.S. military jailers and said it could not legally hang him for nearly a month.

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