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Friday, 3 November, 2000, 11:57 GMT
Saddam film-maker gets death threat
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein: Filmed fishing with hand grenades
A man who made a satirical film about Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has been given a death threat in an overnight attack on his Hollywood home.

French freelance journalist Joel Soler, 32, woke on Thursday to find his house splattered with red paint, his dustbins on fire and a death threat pinned to his mailbox.

He said the unsigned note read: "In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, burn the Satanic movie or you will be dead."

The attack on Soler's house followed a week-long run of the film, Uncle Saddam, at a nearby cinema.

Soler made a documentary about Hussein from footage he smuggled out of Iraq last year taken on the pretext of filming the country's suffering under UN sanctions.

'Courageous'

He was given rare access to Saddam, and the film includes shots of him fishing at a country lake by throwing hand grenades in the water, lecturing aides on how often they should shower and showing his vast collection of hats.

The film has been shown at the Vancouver Film Festival and the UN Film Festival. It has been praised as "courageous" by David Scheffer, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues.

Soler said he was so disturbed by the overnight incident he was considering hiring a bodyguard or going into hiding.

"I freaked out. It is horrible. How can you not take (the attack) seriously?" he said.

"I don't know who did it. I don't know whether it was the work of one angry guy or whether it is something more organised."

Local police investigated the incident but had no comment to make.

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26 Sep 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Iraq
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