Iraqis to take custody of tyrant Saddam tomorrow

Saddam Hussein will be handed over to Iraq's newly established sovereign authorities tomorrow, it has been reported today.

According to the BBC Online, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said the former dictator will be placed into Iraqi custody on Wednesday and will face war crimes charges on Thursday.

The charges are likely to derive from the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the 1988 Halabjah gas attacks in which 5,000 Kurds are thought to have died, and the Iran-Iraq war which ran from 1980-1989 at a cost of millions of lives. However, a full list of indictments may not be ready until the autumn - pushing trial proceedings back many months.

Hussein was captured by US troops in the town of al Dawr, 15 miles south of his northern powerbase of Tikrit, on December 13. He surrendered to soldiers of the US 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, along with special forces, after they uncovered his 'spiderhole' in the garden of small house.

The tyrant had fled his Baghdad capital after the US army entered the city in April last year. His sons, Uday and Qusay, were shot dead by US forces in Mosul on July 22.

Hussein has held at a secret location in the custody of the CIA since his capture.

Today, Mr Allawi said that Hussein, along with 11 other "high-valued detainees", would be transferred tomorrow – but the dictator may not face trial for several months.

Among the other detainees are: former deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz; Ali Hasan al-Majid, otherwise known as 'Chemical Ali'; and Taha Yassin Ramadan, the former vice-president.


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