Saddam Urges Followers 'Not to Hate' US Forces

By David Thibault | July 7, 2008 | 8:17 PM EDT

( - Now facing a date at the gallows, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is reportedly urging Iraqis not to hate the U.S.-led military forces that ousted him from power three years ago.

"I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking," a letter posted on the Iraq Baath Party's website states. Issam Ghazawi, one of Saddam's lawyers reportedly confirmed that the letter was written by the former Iraqi dictator and that the contents were authentic.

Ghazzawi said Saddam wrote the letter on Nov. 5, the day that an Iraqi tribunal convicted him on charges that he ordered the killings of dozens of Shiite Muslims in Dujail in 1982.

The note also serves as Saddam's farewell to his followers. "Dear faithful people, I say goodbye to you, but I will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in him and who will never disappoint any honest believer," Saddam wrote.

On Tuesday an Iraqi appeals court upheld Saddam's conviction and ordered that the penalty for the crimes - death by hanging - be carried out within 30 days.

Some people loyal to Saddam have reportedly threatened to retaliate against the U.S., if Saddam is executed. The Baath Party website, which contained Saddam's letter, also included a message that "the Baath and the resistance are determined to retaliate, with all means and everywhere, to harm America and its interests if it commits this crime."

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