December 29, 2005 Special Dispatch No. 1059

The Alleged Torture of Saddam Hussein

December 29, 2005
Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 1059

On the seventh day of his trial in Baghdad, on December 21, 2005, Saddam Hussein announced for the first time that he had been beaten all over his body by the Americans and that the marks of the torture were still visible. He did not volunteer to show a single mark.

The Record Belies the Allegations

Saddam had been meeting with his attorney for a full year before introducing allegations of torture. After their first meeting, Saddam's attorney Khalil Al-Duleimi told the pro-Saddam London daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi that he had met with Saddam for four hours and that Saddam was in good spirits and "very good" health. Saddam, according to his attorney, had recited fervent poetry as well as verses from the Koran. [1]

Despite meeting with Saddam on a regular basis for a year, it was only after Saddam alleged in court that he had been beaten that his lawyer would tell Al-Quds Al-Arabi that Saddam "was tortured by his American jailers who continue to torture him psychologically." [2] He did not identify the nature of the psychological torture. These jailers would be the same ones who supplied Saddam with a hair coloring, at his request, before he appeared in court. [3]

During his first appearance in court on October 19, Saddam did not mention any torture. On the contrary, he declared that he was up at 2:00 am for the 9:00 am court session. And with a measured bravado he added: "I don't get tired." [4]

Following his first appearance in court, his daughter Raghad Saddam Hussein told Al-Quds Al-Arabi that her father acted in court as "a lion." [5] Through the Red Cross, Saddam and his daughter have been communicating regularly. There was no reference to torture or even mistreatment by Saddam, his daughter or the Red Cross. Nor has Raghad Hussein ever mentioned the issue of torture in her press interviews.

"Saddam Emerges a Winner"

Under the above title, Abd Al-Bari Atwan, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi wrote that "the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his colleagues have succeeded in turning his trial to the trial of the American occupation and its symbols.

"The recent [court] sessions have proven that his era was by far better than the picture drawn by his opponents and by the Arab and American media, which have been employed in the service of 'devilish' projects to justify the war and change the regime by force."

After listing 10 "quick remarks" in support of his thesis, Atwan concluded that "the Iraqi President has emerged the biggest winner in the first seven rounds of his trial, and has proven extraordinary power of strength and courage. He has acted throughout as a statesman, an experienced military commander, and a national leader who does not fear execution and is not afraid of his jailers." [6]

[1] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), December 20, 2004.

[2] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), December 24, 2005.

[3] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 20, 2005.

[4] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 20, 2005.

[5] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), October 20, 2005.

[6] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), December 23, 2005.

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