The Iraqi government has announced it will investigate how footage of Saddam Hussein’s execution was captured on a mobile phone and distributed online.

Official pictures of Hussien’s execution were released by the Iraqi government, but did not include audio and stopped short of showing his final moments.

But an unofficial two-and-a-half minute video clip, which found its way onto video-sharing sites such as YouTube, was apparently surreptitiously taken by one of the witnesses.

The grainy footage showed the former Iraqi leader exchanging insults with witnesses and has been widely condemned by politicians. John Prescott, the UK’s deputy prime minister who is leading the government during Tony Blair’s break, described the widespread availability of the clip as "deplorable" and "totally unacceptable".

An advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki told Reuters that "there were a few guards who shouted slogans that were inappropriate and that's now the subject of a government investigation".