The Iraqi authorities are worried that the unofficial footage could lead to a dramatic rise in sectarian tensions between Iraq’s Sunni and Shia communities, as Saddam’s guards are heard to shout abuse at the former Iraqi dictator. Saddam also exchanges taunts with the witnesses present.
Since the invasion in 2003, mobile telephony has risen in Iraq from 1.2m landlines to 4.6m land and mobile lines. With only 0.1% of the population having internet access, mobiles are they communication tool of choice in Iraq.
As news agencies discovered the video was available online, ordinary Iraqi citizens were already swapping the video amongst each other via their mobiles. A trader in Baghdad told AFP news agency that his mobile phone shop was selling the gallows phone camera footage for 500 dinars ($0.40 USD) a time.
Although the video has been condemned by many of the world’s leading figures, it goes to show the power a humble mobile phone can have. Had the unofficial footage not surfaced, the official, censored version would have been the only record of the event.
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