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Military Officials in Iraq Condemn Release of Saddam Photos

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2005 – Military officials in Iraq have condemned the release of photos taken of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in prison that appeared today in a British tabloid and have been widely circulated on the Internet.

"These photos were taken in clear violation of DoD directives and possibly Geneva Convention guidelines for the humane treatment of detained individuals," a Multinational Force Iraq official said in a statement.

The statement went on to say that the command "is disappointed at the possibility that someone responsible for the security, welfare, and detention of Saddam would take and provide these photos for public release."

Saddam was captured by U.S. troops near his hometown of Tikrit in December 2003. The interim Iraqi government assumed legal custody of him in June 2004, but he remains under the control of U.S. servicemembers at an undisclosed location. The deposed leader has appeared in court just once, a few days after the legal handover.

A photo of Saddam wearing nothing but his underwear appears on the cover of today's edition of The Sun, a popular British tabloid. Other photos published inside the paper reportedly show the 68-year-old former leader doing laundry by hand and sleeping.

DoD officials say the photos are believed to be over a year old, but maintain they don't know how The Sun got them.

"We take seriously our responsibility to ensure the safety and security of all detainees," the MNFI release stated. "This lapse is being aggressively investigated to determine, if possible, who took the photos, and to ensure existing procedures and directives are complied with to prevent this from happening again."

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