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Last Updated: Friday, 25 July, 2003, 19:33 GMT 20:33 UK
Media films Saddam sons
The bodies of Qusay (left) and Uday
Independent media were allowed to film the bodies
The United States military has allowed TV journalists into a morgue in Iraq to film two bodies said to be Uday and Qusay Hussein, in another attempt to convince Iraqis the men are really dead.

US officials said the bodies, each with more than 20 bullet wounds, had undergone post-mortem "facial reconstruction" to make them appear more like they did in real life.

The new footage came a day after US forces released graphic photos showing the mutilated bodies of the men - a move defended by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The US State Department says it expects to pay the $30m reward - $15m for each son - to the informant who led US troops to the men.

State Department officials previously said they had not yet received the right paperwork from the Pentagon to be able to make the payment.

Images of Uday and Qusay Hussein from a CD-Rom released by the US in Baghdad

"We're working with them to get that information so we can go through this process as quickly as possible," department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

But there are still lingering doubts among some Iraqis that two of the old regime's most feared men were killed when US forces raided a house in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday.

The video footage, filmed by a select group of independent journalists, was shown on Iraqi television and Arabic satellite TV channels on Friday.

No deception

The BBC's Matthew Price in Baghdad says that, compared with the photographs, the bodies lying on mortuary tables looked slightly unreal.

Uday's beard had been trimmed to the length he had worn it in life.

HAVE YOUR SAY
The showing of the pictures of Saddam's dead sons was necessary
Martyn Roberts, UK

Morticians also removed a large gash that had cut across the middle of his face.

Autopsy incisions were also visible on Uday's left leg, where doctors removed an eight-inch (20cm) long bar that had been inserted after a 1996 assassination attempt.

Qusay's beard had been shaved off leaving only his trademark moustache.

A US official told reporters the aim was to make the men more closely resemble the brothers in life in order to convince people that Uday and Qusay are indeed dead, not to deceive.

US military morticians and forensic pathologists told journalists there was no evidence the men committed suicide.

Distrust

The release of the photos and footage has caused much debate in Washington and on Arabic television, as the US does not usually publish pictures of dead combatants and objected when dead US troops were shown on the Arabic Al-Jazeera TV channel during the war.

Qusay (left) and Uday
US morticians 'reconstructed' the faces of Qusay (left) and Uday

Mr Rumsfeld said the publication of pictures would save American and coalition lives and prove that Iraq's former rulers would not return.

But some Pentagon generals are reported to have found the release "repugnant".

An Iraqi academic, Asim Mohammad Imran, told the BBC Arabic Service in Basra that releasing the pictures showed the lack of trust between the Americans and the Iraqi people.

"Presenting the photos in this direct way by the US or Iraqi television channels shows that the American Administration and the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq (CPA) had doubts about the way the Iraqi people would receive these pictures, which is with suspicion," he said.

"In other words there is a mutual distrust between the Iraqi citizens and the CPA."

The UK prime minister's special envoy to Iraq, John Sawers, believes the Iraqis can be convinced.

"The Iraqi people wanted absolute certainty that these people are dead," he told the BBC.

Images which the US says show Saddam Hussein's sons are dead. (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT)

"I'm not surprised they're sceptical, after 35 years of Saddam's propaganda machine, that news items that come out of voices of authority are questioned."

He said these were exceptional circumstances.

"These were the butchers of this regime. One was a sexual predator, a sadist; the other was a ruthless, power-hungry man, and they killed tens of thousands of people between them," he said.

"It was a finely-balanced decision, of course, what to do, and I think we've found the right path here."

US officials are now said to be troubled by what to do with the bodies of the brothers.

Cremation is not acceptable to the Muslim faith but there are fears burying the bodies could lead to the creation of a shrine.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's James Reynolds
"There are still plenty of people who don't believe anything the US does"




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