BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 26, 2006 — -- The impending death of one of the most notorious dictators of the 20th century has caused a morbid contest in Baghdad as Iraqis express an interest in executing Saddam Hussein.
After losing a court appeal, the former Iraqi leader is scheduled for hanging in the next 30 days for the killing of 148 Shiites in the central city of Dujail.
An advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told ABC News that hundreds of Iraqis have inquired about the job as Hussein's hangman, even though officially, no such position exists and the government has not advertised for it.
Bassam al-Husseiny said he receives eight to 10 phone calls a day, and 20 to 30 e-mails by those who want the assignment. The interested Iraqis, he said, come from all three of the country's major religions and ethnicities and from high-level government officials to "the tea boy."
One of those interested, a Shiite Muslim named Abdul, said there is not a house in Iraq that has not held a funeral because of Hussein. He explained that he is "not the only one" who wants to execute the former dictator.
Hussein is due to hang in custom-made gallows. A lever pull is required to drop the floor from beneath his feet. Al-Husseiny, the prime minister's aide, said the job is to "pull the trigger" to move a handle down that will adjust the platform.
For safety reasons, the government does not plan to disclose who is eventually chosen to pull the lever.
Those looking for the job are interested in seeking the ultimate revenge against a dictator responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.