The Price of Capital Punishment-another child dead in copycat Saddam game

The fallout from Saddam’s hanging is not over yet. Arab children are killing themselves while re-enacting the execution.

Last week rumors of childrens’ deaths started to surface about the same time two Saddam loyalists were executed by hanging. This exection was filmed by the Iraqi government and the film shown to reporters–again without sound–but this time the event quickly faded from the public eye.

Then today The Jordan Times carried an article about the death of an 11-year-old boy in Morroco who died playing the hanging game. So far, the deaths of five children have been reported. A twelve-year-old boy in Saudi has died as well as a child in Algeria. This weekend two more died in Azerbaijan.

Isn’t anyone rethinking the value of capital punishment as a tool of the state?

The Jordan Times keeps stories posted for a week; here is the article in its entirety:

RABAT (Reuters) — A Moroccan man returned home to find his 11-year-old son hanging dead from the ceiling, a newspaper said on Thursday, the latest victim of a macabre game in which children mimic the death of Saddam Hussein.

The boy decided to copy the former Iraq leader’s execution while playing with his younger sister at their home in Khemisset, 80km east of the capital Rabat, newspaper Al Ahdath Al Maghrebia reported.

“The girl then went to school and left her brother playing his deadly game,” it said, adding that local officials had opened an enquiry into the death.

Saddam’s execution on December 30 came as families gathered for the religious feast of Eid Al Adha and the images of the former Iraqi leader on the gallows shown repeatedly on Arabic news channels spurred indignation among his fellow Sunni Muslims.

Since then, several stories have emerged of children dying or being injured after being captivated by the manner of Saddam’s death or by family conversations about the execution.

One 12-year-old Saudi boy died after using a chair and a metal wire to hang himself from a door frame, while another in Algeria was found hanging from a tree, papers reported.

Two boys in different regions of Azerbaijan hanged themselves at the weekend and may have been influenced by Saddam’s execution, a security source in the country said.

Many were impressed by Saddam’s dignity on the gallows in the face of insults hurled at him in his final moments and some praised him as a hero.

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