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Saddam's daughter: I want to go to Iraq
www.chinaview.cn 2004-06-13 17:12:59

    BEIJING, June 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Saddam Hussein's eldest daughter told a weekly women's magazine that her life has been full of emotional suffering and that she would go back to Iraq if she had the chance, said Saturday's China Daily.


Raghad Hussein, left, and her sister Rana discuss their father in an interview with CNN in August 2003.
"My life is a series of collapses," Raghad Saddam Hussein said in an interview in Friday's edition of Sayidaty magazine. "If age is measured by anguish and sadness, I would have been 80 today."

    "But despite this, my confidence hasn't wavered for a single day in God the almighty," the 36-year-old said.

    It was Raghad's first print interview since she and her sister, Rana, and their children sought asylum in Jordan last July. Shortly after moving to Amman, the two gave interviews to Arab satellite channels and CNN, but have kept a low profile ever since.

    The two daughters had lived private lives in Iraq and were seen by some as victims of Saddam, who ordered their husbands killed in 1996. They were estranged from their father for a time but were believed to have reconciled with Saddam in recent years.

    Raghad told Sayidaty that the International Red Cross Committee had delivered a letter from her father, who has been held by U.S. forces since his December 13 capture. She said three lines of the six-line letter were erased. Letters from Saddam go through a U.S. censor.

    "In the name of the almighty and merciful God ... greetings to my small family, to my big family," she quoted the letter as saying, referring to his immediate family and the larger Iraqi population. "As for my spirit, it is glittering always with the support of creator."

    She did not say when she received the letter.

    Raghad said she would like to send a message to her father: "I love you."

    Asked if she misses Iraq, Raghad answered, "Yes, if I have a chance I'll go back faster than you would imagine."

    "I'm not afraid of death, but of scandal," she told the magazine. When asked to elaborate, she said, "To happen like what happened in Abu Ghraib prison."

    The prison, notorious for torture and execution during Saddam's regime, was the site of abuse against Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers. News of the abuse, detailed in photographs, caused shock and condemnation worldwide. (Lawsuit file over abuse)

    The Saudi-owned, London-based glossy magazine spread the interview over 14 pages, mostly filled with family photographs, old and new. Raghad, who covered her head with a white veil in last year's television interviews, showed off a new look in jeans and a black sweater, her head bare.

    As in the previous interviews, she avoided talking about political issues.

    "We didn't want an interview about politics, as we are bored of it," magazine editor Hani Naqshabandi wrote at the beginning of the magazine. "We didn't want an interview about war, as we all are trying to forget it."

    Raghad said that despite the presence of her five children, aged 10 to 20, she feels lonely.

    "My children are adolescents; it's a difficult phase for a single woman," she said.

    She said she does not visit her mother, Sajida Khairallah Telfah, and youngest sister, Hala, in Qatar.

    Saddam and Telfah had three daughters and two sons. The two brothers, Odai and Qusai, were killed in a shootout with U.S. forces last July.

    (China Daily/Agencies)

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