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Photos of Saddam in underwear stir controversies in Iraq
www.chinaview.cn 2005-05-22 02:11:52

A man reads the British tabloid newspaper The Sun in London May 20, 2005. The paper carries a front page picture showing imprisoned former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in his underpants and has other pictures inside of various aspects of his life in prison. (Reuters)

A front page picture of Sun newspaper shows imprisoned former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in his underpants and has other pictures inside of various aspects of his life in prison. (Reuters)

    BAGHDAD, May 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Photos of Saddam Hussein wearing only underpants, circulated by Britain's biggest-selling newspaper on Friday, have drawn both criticism and hail from the Iraqis. Some said the publication of such photos by the Sun was an insult to Arabs and Muslims while others said the dictator deserved such humiliation.

    The photos, some showing the former ruler in his underpants and others showing him washing clothes by hand and asleep on his bed, were also broadcast across Iraq by local televisions." Everything is allowed nowadays in Iraq as we are under occupation," Salam al-Shamaa told Xinhua on Saturday while watching the pictures on TV in a Baghdad coffee shop.

    "I, as a journalist, believe that publishing such pictures is immoral and against our professional principles," said Salam who is in his 50s.

    "I don't think these pictures will serve the US interests," he added, referring to a US military source who was quoted by the Sun as saying that releasing the pictures will unravel the mystery wrapping the former ruler and deal a blow to the resistance in Iraq.

    "Publishing such pictures might even beef up the resistance against the US forces as Saddam is seen as a symbol for some insurgents," said another Iraqi man who declined to be named. "The US forces think they are destroying the myth of Saddam, but for a conservative society, this is a humiliation which only triggers violence," he added.

    He also accused the Untied States of trying to incite anger and violence in Iraq to have a justified excuse to stay in the country. "If we have security, they will destabilize it again," he said. Mohammed Salih al-Aswad, a lawyer, said, "Leaking such pictures to the tabloids shows the US arrogance, which violates the human rights and the Geneva Conventions concerning the prisoners of the war (POWs)."

    "The US has made a mistake and it is entirely not for Washington's interests in Iraq," he added.

    Um Yaser, a female teacher in Baghdad, shot questions at newly-elected Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and the Iraqi government's ability to abide by the international law concerning prisoners' rights.

    "I would like to know what the man of law, Jalal Talabani, will say as he sees those private pictures of a POW, theoretically under the custody of the Iraqi government," she said.

    But Hussein Abed Ali, a young man whose father was executed during the Saddam era, felt only too happy that the toppled ruler received such humiliating exposure.

    "Saddam deserves this destiny. He deserves slow death and humiliation," Ali said. "I am happy to see him in these pictures." Saddam, who had ruled Iraq for decades, was toppled from power in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. After several months of hiding, he was finally caught by US forces in a small underground bunker in December of the same year.

    The former leader has been held in a secret prison near Baghdad and only made a brief appearance in a court in 2004. Enditem


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