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Last Updated: Monday, 15 October 2007, 20:00 GMT 21:00 UK
Saddam's US jailer goes on trial
By Ian Pannell
BBC News, Baghdad

US troops handle Iraqi prisoner (file photo)
Questions on prisoner treatment have plagued US forces in Iraq
A US serviceman who was in charge of the detention of ex-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has gone on trial by court martial accused of aiding the enemy.

Lt-Col William Steele is standing trial in Baghdad on a total of seven counts and could face a life sentence.

The most serious charge is that he aided the enemy by providing a mobile phone to detainees.

Col Steele was in charge of two facilities at the time, one of which housed Saddam Hussein.

Hair dye

It has not been disclosed whom Col Steele lent the phone to.

During pre-trial hearings the soldier was also accused of supplying Cuban cigars and hair dye to the former Iraqi leader.

If convicted he faces life in prison, but he has pleaded not guilty to all but three lesser charges.

This is only the second time that a US serviceman has been accused of aiding the enemy.

After much publicity the suspect in the previous case was eventually cleared and given an honourable discharge.

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