Saddam’s Prison Letter
Newsweek — SaddamÃ¢€™s Prison Letter
Military censors have blacked out nine of the 14 lines. But in what remains of his letter, Saddam Hussein assures his family that Ã¢€œmy spirit and my morale, they are high, thanks to greatness of God.Ã¢€ The messageÃ¢€”apparently the first and only letter the former Iraqi dictator has sent to his family since his capture last DecemberÃ¢€”is on a standard Ã¢€œfamily messageÃ¢€ form provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It is addressed simply Ã¢€œto my daughter,Ã¢€ and was delivered to the family by the ICRC after they visited Saddam on Feb. 21. The letter, apparently in SaddamÃ¢€™s handwriting, was shown to NEWSWEEK by Muhammed al Rushadan, a Jordanian lawyer retained by SaddamÃ¢€™s family.
Rushadan is currently on a visit to the United States, where he hopes to make the case that his client’s human rights are being violated and that he’s being held in violation of the Geneva Conventions. In addition, says Rushadan, he believes Saddam is being mistreated like some of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib were. “There are fresh wounds on his body,” he said, citing a Red Cross document he claims to have. “I say to the ICRC that you should do your job under Article 10 of the Geneva Conventions, or you should quit your job.”
According to the Red CrossÃ¢€™s Doumani, the Geneva Conventions do give the detaining authority the right to censor prisonersÃ¢€™ letters. “I don’t think all the messages that he has written to the family have been delivered,” she says. “I can’t confirm how many others there were, but it’s important to stress that this is clearly because of censorship and is not the fault of the ICRC.”
Certainly, tight censorship of Saddam’s communications with the outside world is to be expected, given that there is an insurgency going on. Given the scrutiny he’s under, I can’t imagine that he’s not being treated quite well in prison. Certainly, that fact that he’s able to write letters indicates that he’s being treated far better than he deserves.