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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 22:34 GMT 23:34 UK
'Saddam novel' on sale in Tokyo
By Chris Hogg
BBC News, Tokyo

Japanese journalist Itsuko Hirata with a copy of a novel said to have been written by Saddam Hussein
Translator Itsuko Hirata says Saddam's life should be spared
A novel said to have been written by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has gone on sale in Tokyo.

The manuscript of the book, called Devil's Dance, was carried out of Iraq by one of Saddam Hussein's daughters, the Japanese publishers say.

Saddam Hussein has been credited with writing several novels. This one, says his daughter, was finished a day before the US invasion that toppled him.

The work has been translated by a Japanese journalist.

The journalist says she obtained the manuscript from one of Saddam Hussein's lawyers, who gave her permission to publish it.

The novel was banned in Jordan last year, because of political concerns.

Symbolic subject matter

It is the second work attributed to the former Iraqi leader which has gone on sale in Japan.

The first, called Zabibah and the King, tells the story of a leader who sacrifices a luxurious life for the sake of his people.

Saddam Hussein on trial in Baghdad
Saddam Hussein is currently on trial for war crimes

This book's subject matter is again symbolic.

It depicts a tribe living along the Euphrates River 1,500 years ago that ousts an invading force.

Its Japanese translator has made a plea for the former Iraqi leader to be spared the death penalty should he be found guilty by the tribunal in Baghdad.

Saddam Hussein is a witness to the troubled relationship between Iraq and the US, she says; he should be allowed to live and tell his tale.

The translator of the novel gave an interview

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