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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 June, 2003, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
No UK asylum for Saddam's family
Rana and Raghad Hussein pictured in 1990
Rana and Raghad Hussein were thought to be in Baghdad
There is no question of allowing Saddam Hussein's daughters or wife to claim asylum in Britain, the government has said.

Responding to reports that the three women hoped to set up home in the UK, Tony Blair's official spokesman said any application from them would be turned down.

He said: "We will not consider asylum claims from his daughters, wife or any other members of his family who might have been involved in human rights abuses."

But speaking to Radio 4's World at One programme, Home Office minister Beverley Hughes suggested that the situation was not so clear-cut.

She said that while the government would oppose an application to travel to the UK, it would be "duty bound" to consider the women's case if they made their own way to the country.

According to the Sun newspaper, the former dictator's daughters, Raghad, 35, and Rana, 33, hoped to set up home in Leeds with their 10 children - close to a cousin of Saddam who already lives in the city.

A separate report in the Daily Mail suggested that Saddam's wife, Sajida, also planned to seek asylum in Britain.

'No obligation'

The Home Office told BBC News Online that no asylum applications had been received from Saddam's daughters or wife.

Izzi-Din Mohammed Hassan al-Majid
I believe the UK government will take them in because they have always been known to protect people and give them asylum
Izzi-Din Mohammed Hassan al-Majid

A spokeswoman said: "We are under no obligation to give asylum to people who have taken part in human rights abuses."

She refused to comment on what human rights abuses the three women are alleged to have committed.

Saddam's cousin, Izzi-Din Mohammed Hassan al-Majid, arrived back in Leeds on Thursday morning, on a KLM flight from Amsterdam.

Mr al-Majid fled Iraq in 1995 and has leave to stay in the UK indefinitely.

According to the Sun he was preparing to arrange asylum applications for Rana, Raghad and their children, who were finalising plans to leave Iraq for Britain.

Mr al-Majid was questioned by officials at Leeds-Bradford airport before being allowed to continue his journey.


He told the Sun: "Both women would like to live next to each other in Leeds.

Sajida and Saddam Hussein
Sajida and Saddam Hussein had separated
"That's where I live and they would like to live near me.

"Saddam's daughters had British schools and hospitals in mind when they decided to ask for asylum - especially the schools.

"I believe the UK government will take them in because they have always been known to protect people and give them asylum."

'Financial help'

Mr al-Majid said the women would definitely need financial help if they moved to the UK.

He said: "As far as money goes they are in a really bad way."

According to the Daily Mail the women's mother, 66-year-old Sajida Hussein, is also hoping to come to the UK.

Sajida, who separated from Saddam in the 1980s and is also the mother of notorious sons Uday and Qusay, is said to be living with Rana and Raghad.

The husbands of Rana and Raghad were assassinated in 1996 after they defected to Jordan and then lured back to Iraq.

The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"A cousin of Saddam flew back to his home in Leeds to try to get asylum for the daughters"



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