BBC TwoNewsnight
Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Monday, 18 July 2005 17:28 UK

Monday, 18 July, 2005

Eddie Mair

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Tuesday's programme, presented by Eddie Mair, covers the following stories:

From Eddie Mair,


It's my happy task to let you know the programme has a truly remarkable report tonight.

One of the difficulties in reporting Iraq is that many parts of the country are simply too dangerous. Witness the violence this weekend alone, in which more than 150 Iraqis were killed. Journalists rarely stray from heavily protected compounds - unable to portray the fuller picture they're eager to bring.

The independent film maker Maziar Bahari has spent the last month travelling around the country for Newsnight, filming in places few foreign journalists have been able to visit over the last few years. In our extended report you'll see pictures of downtown Fallujah, the stronghold of Sunni insurgents battered by an American offensive. Maziar has visited the slums of Sadr City, the marshland in the South, the holy city of Najaf, as well as Baghdad and Basra.

The report contains accounts by ordinary Iraqis of their stories and their fears for the country. And we talk to Moqtada al Sadr in his first interview with the Western media. He is the firebrand Muslim cleric, whose Mahdi army fought the US in Najaf. He's still opposed to the US occupation of his country, but he's speaking a new language of restraint, calling for Iraqis not to be provoked into confrontation with American and British troops.

Our report will air as questions are raised about the Government's Iraq policy. The highly respected think tank Chatham House believes Britain is more of a target for terrorists since it joined America in the war. We will be asking a panel of guests for their views on how to stop the sectarian violence, how great the danger of civil war. And we'll be examining the political fall out for the British government.

And as you may have heard, another Newsnight report is in the headlines. In July 2000 John Simpson went to the London suburb of Mitcham to track down a notorious Afghan war lord, Commander Zardad. Reports said he shot anyone who crossed him and even kept the so-called Human Dog, a man who acted like a wild dog and sank his teeth into his victims' flesh.

Today Faryadi Zardad was found guilty of torture and hostage taking, becoming the first man to be tried in Britain for torture committed in another country. Tonight John will be back with the background of the crimes the Attorney General called so heinous that they should be tried in any country.

I hope you can join us.

Eddie Mair

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Watch John Simpson confront Faryadi Zardad in 2000


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