On August 18, 1994 President Saddam Hussein promulgated Law 109. It read: “According to Section 1, Article 42, of the Iraqi Constitution, the Revolutionary Command Council has decreed that . . . the foreheads of those individuals who repeat the crime for which their hand was cut off will be branded with a mark in the shape of an X. Each intersecting line will be one centimeter in length and one millimeter in width.” The crimes “for which their hand was cut off” were theft and desertion. Branding with a red-hot iron was being introduced in Saddam Hussein’s post–Gulf War Iraq as a new form of punishment for these crimes.
Soldiers and car thieves were singled out for prosecution on the basis of Iraq’s new punishment law...
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