August 8, 1979: Saddam Hussein Publicly Executes 22 Political Opponents


The then-Iraqi President was known for his crimes against humanity.

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Over 400 Ba’ath party leaders were brought into a pavilion near the presidential palace. The secret police locked the doors behind them. Hussein ordered that the assembly be videotaped. Sixty-eight people were dragged out of the room, tried and sentenced within minutes.

All were found guilty of treason. 22 were shot to death and the rest were sent to dungeons. Hussein had come to power just six days earlier, after he forced out his own cousin out of power.

The dictator  became known for using a secret-police establishment to suppress and kill any opposition to his rule. His goal as president was for Iraq to become the leader of the Arab world. 

Within just one week of the brutal August 8 incident, hundreds of high-ranking Ba'ath party members, potential rivals, union leaders and businessmen were also executed. 

And it didn’t stop there.

It is estimated that over 250,000 Iraqis were killed by security services of Saddam's government through purges and genocides. And that number is believed to be a conservative estimate. 

[Photo: Getty]

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