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Council removes Saddam Hussein bench tribute

Sky News logo Sky News 20/11/2018
a wooden bench: The plaque has now been removed - but its origins remain unknown © Victoria Richards The plaque has now been removed - but its origins remain unknown

The tribute suddenly appeared on the seat in Wanstead High Street on Monday, reading: "In Loving Memory of Saddam Hussein, 1937-2006."

It provoked a mixture of outrage and confusion among locals and around the world after a photo of the plaque shared by journalist and Wanstead resident Victoria Richards was retweeted thousands of times.

Some of the hundreds who replied to the tweet suggested it may be a tribute to someone who shared the same name, birthday and death date as the ex-president, who was executed in Baghdad on 30 December 2006.

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He was born in the village of Al-Awja, north of the capital, on 28 April 1937 - and would go on to lead a brutal regime spanning more than two decades before his capture by US troops on 13 December 2003.

The hanging - partly broadcast on state TV - came after he was found guilty of crimes against humanity by an Iraqi court regarding the killing of 148 Iraqi Shia Muslims in 1982.

Saddam Hussein wearing a suit and tie: Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003 and executed three years later © Getty Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003 and executed three years later Most have seen the plaque as nothing more than a prank, but it sparked anger among many Iraqis.

Among them was Sayed Hossein Qazwini, who tweeted: "Seriously?? FYI Saddam's regime killed more than 16 members of my family. He does deserve a bench though. In hell."

Usually permission would be required from the local authority to install a plaque in a public place, but Redbridge Council said none had been granted for the tribute to Hussein.

Watch: Saddam Hussein memorial plaque appears in London (The Independent)

A spokesman confirmed: "We didn't give permission for this to be put up and it has been removed."

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