Saturday, December 24, 2005

The skin ripped from their bodies: "I cannot express all that suffering and pain that we suffered in the 70 days inside"

Mr Haidari recalled the 1982 massacre at Dujail, where Saddam is accused of orchestrating the mass reprisals in retaliation for an alleged attempt on his life
writes the Daily Telegraph's Adrian Blomfield (shookhran to Robert Tracinski) in news which, unless I am mistaken, French media has not made a whole hell of a lot about. (It's true that it's a subject far less interesting than tales of American torture.)
Mr Haidari, who was only 14 at the time, told how he and all 43 members of his family were rounded up and taken to the Ba'ath party headquarters in Dujail.

"I saw my brother being tortured in front of my eyes," he said, looking straight at Saddam. "I was terrified. They would take one of us away and he would return in a sheet, dripping in blood."

Seven of his brothers were executed, he testified. Like so many Iraqis, he has no idea, he said, where they were buried.

The killings at Dujail were by no means the worst of the atrocities that Saddam and his henchmen are alleged to have orchestrated.

In comparison to the massacre of thousands at a time in the Kurdish north or the Shia south, only 147 people were killed. But prosecutors say the evidence in Dujail was easier to compile and have promised that there will be more charges brought against the former president.

Mr Haidari told the court that he was taken to a prison in Baghdad where children even younger than he, some only nine years old, were held in terrible conditions.

Beatings and electric shocks were regularly administered. Some of his fellow prisoners had the skin ripped from their bodies. "I cannot express all that suffering and pain that we suffered in the 70 days inside.''

…The more Saddam seemed to shrink, the bolder the witness became. "I hold Saddam responsible for detaining me and my family and ruining my future," he said.

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