Fact Check: Saddam Hussein Will NOT Be Freed From US Jail On January 17, 2024 -- He's Dead And Buried Since His 2006 Hanging

Fact Check

  • by: Jamal Halaby
Fact Check: Saddam Hussein Will NOT Be Freed From US Jail On January 17, 2024 -- He's Dead And Buried Since His 2006 Hanging Long Dead

Is former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein alive in a U.S. jail from which he will be released on January 17, 2024? No, that's not true: Saddam was hanged on December 30, 2006, in the presence of multiple witnesses after an Iraqi court found him guilty of crimes against humanity. Footage of his hanging was widely shared at the time, and he was buried in his birthplace in Auja, Iraq, where his tomb remains.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) and was posted on TikTok on January 9, 2024, with the caption (translated from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff):

Staff commander Saddam Hussein is alive and will return soon to Iraq. He will be freed on January 17, 2024.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:


(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Jan 9 12:41:05 2024 UTC)

The post uses manipulated video of the former leader together with a fabricated audio track made to sound like Saddam in which he appeared to claim that his hanging in 2006 was "fake" and urged Iraqis to "stand by me so that we can rule Iraq again and restore Arab dignity." Sporting a beard, he promised to explain the circumstances of his hanging in other videos soon.

Another video (archived here), posted on TikTok on January 8, 2024, claimed that Saddam had already been released from a U.S. jail and was in Fallujah, a city west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, where residents are mostly Sunni Muslim tribesmen known for their loyalty to Saddam.

False reports have previously circulated on social media using digitally manipulated audio and video images of Saddam Hussein in which the dead leader claims to be alive and planning a return to Iraq, such as here and here.

Saddam was toppled in a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole in the ground near his hometown Tikrit on December 13, 2003. Footage of his hanging was broadcast by major networks at the time, including this report on CNN (archived here).

This Washington Post (archived here) reports he was buried in his birthplace in Auja, where his tomb remains until the present day.

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  Jamal Halaby

Jamal Halaby is a fact-checker, who has been working with Lead Stories for nearly two years, helping bring the truth and factual information to the organization's global audience. With extensive background in investigative journalism and content writing and editing in Arabic and English, Jamal uses that experience to expose a burgeoning market of misinformation and disinformation. Previously, he worked as a writer for the Associated Press and several other reputable international news organizations. He has a passion for empirical analysis and discerning the veracity of the news.

Read more about or contact Jamal Halaby

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