Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax Released from Prison

For reasons yet to be explained, Rihab Taha, a/k/a “Dr. Germ” and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a/k/a “Mrs. Anthrax,” were among two dozen former high officials in Saddam Hussein’s government released from prison today by the Iraqi government.

‘Dr. Germ,’ Others Released in Iraq (AP)

About 24 top former officials in Saddam Hussein’s regime, including a biological weapons expert known as “Dr. Germ,” have been released from jail, while a militant group released a video Monday of the purported killing of an American hostage. […] In Iraqi lawyer said the 24 or 25 officials from Saddam’s government were released from jail without charges, and some have already left the country. “The release was an American-Iraqi decision and in line with an Iraqi government ruling made in December 2004, but hasn’t been enforced until after the elections in an attempt to ease the political pressure in Iraq,” said the lawyer, Badee Izzat Aref.

Among them were Rihab Taha, a British-educated biological weapons expert, who was known as “Dr. Germ” for her role in making bio-weapons in the 1980s, and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, known as “Mrs. Anthrax,” a former top Baath Party official and biotech researcher, Aref said. “Because of security reasons, some of them want to leave the country,” he said. He declined to elaborate, but noted “some have already left Iraq today.”

Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, would say only that eight individuals formerly designated as high-value detainees were released Saturday after a board process found they were no longer a security threat and no charges would be filed against them. Neither the U.S. military or Iraqi officials would disclose any of the names, but a legal official in Baghdad said Taha and Ammash were among those released. The official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, said those released also included Hossam Mohammed Amin, head of the weapons inspections directorate, and Aseel Tabra, an Iraqi Olympic Committee official under Odai Saddam Hussein, the former leader’s son.

The video from the extremist group The Islamic Army of Iraq was posted on a Web site and showed a man purportedly being shot in the back of the head. Last week, the group had claimed it had killed civilian contractor Ronald Allen Schulz, a native of North Dakota. The video did not show the victim’s face, however, and it was impossible to identify him. The victim was kneeling with his back to the camera, with his hands tied behind his back and blindfolded with an Arab headdress when he was purportedly shot. The video also showed Schulz’s identity card.

Quite bizarre.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Maybe they turned states evidence?

  2. legion says:

    If they did, they’d still be under the supervision (and protection) of US or Iraqi forces. As near as I can tell from the article, this was a blanket amnesty granted by the Iraqi gov’t. I don’t understand this either…

  3. DC Loser says:

    Isn’t democracy great or what?

  4. John Burgess says:

    I’m pretty certain that this means that the intell people got everything they thought they could get from them, so they so no further need to keep them. “Home for the holidays” and all that.

    That doesn’t mean the Iraqis can’t come back and try them–if there are grounds and evidence–for crimes.

    I really do think there are two separate things going on here. And it’s not as if either of them is going anywhere.

  5. M. Murcek says:

    Note also, it was reported many of these people “left the country.” Maybe someone is watching where they are going and seeing who is offering the warm welcomes. Next stage in the WoT and all that…