On 13 December 2003, in Operation Red Dawn, Saddam Hussein was captured by American forces after being found hiding in a hole in the ground near a farmhouse in ad-Dawr, near Tikrit. Following his capture, Saddam was transported to a U.S. base near Tikrit, and later taken to the American base near Baghdad.
Saddam was shown with a full beard and hair longer than his familiar appearance. He was described by U.S. officials as being in good health. Bremer reported plans to put Saddam on trial, but claimed that the details of such a trial had not yet been determined. Iraqis and Americans who spoke with Saddam after his capture generally reported that he remained self-assured, describing himself as a “firm, but just leader.”
British tabloid newspaper The Sun posted a picture of Saddam wearing white briefs on the front cover of a newspaper. Other photographs inside the paper show Saddam washing his trousers, shuffling, and sleeping. The United States government stated that it considered the release of the pictures a violation of the Geneva Convention, and that it would investigate the photographs.
The execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein took place on 30 December 2006. Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging, after being convicted of crimes against humanity by the Iraqi Special Tribunal for the Dujail massacre—the killing of 148 Iraqi Shi’ites in the town of Dujail—in 1982, in retaliation for an assassination attempt against him.
The Iraqi government released an official video of his execution, showing him being led to the gallows, and ending after the hangman’s noose was placed over his head. International public controversy arose when a mobile phone recording of the hanging showed him surrounded by a contingent of his countrymen who jeered him in Arabic and praised the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and his subsequent fall through the trap door of the gallows.
The atmosphere of the execution drew criticism around the world from nations that oppose as well as support capital punishment. Saddam Hussein’s body was returned to his birthplace of Al-Awja, near Tikrit, on 31 December and was buried near the graves of other family members.