Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says the execution of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on a major Muslim holiday was shameful and very painful, and that it has turned Saddam into a martyr.
In an interview with an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, Mr. Mubarak also criticized what he called the shocking, barbaric pictures of the execution.
Grainy video showed Saddam being taunted by Iraqi onlookers before the execution, and then showed him dangling from the rope afterward.
Mr. Mubarak said he wrote U.S. President George Bush asking him to intervene so the execution would not be carried out during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
Mr. Bush has also been critical of how the execution was handled, but he said justice had been done.
In the Moroccan capital of Rabat, more than 500 people gathered Friday outside the U.S. Embassy to protest the execution. In Indian-controlled Kashmir, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to break up a second day of protests against the hanging of the former Iraqi leader.
Germany, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, on Friday repeated the bloc's opposition to the death penalty. The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe called for an immediate end to executions in Iraq and for the abolition of the death penalty there.
Saddam Hussein was hanged last Saturday for crimes against humanity. An Iraqi court convicted him in the killings of 148 Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims in the village of Dujail in 1982.
Two of Saddam's co-defendants also have been sentenced to death. No date has been announced for those executions.