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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 May, 2005, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Sun defends Saddam prison photos
Saddam Hussein, pictured shaved after his arrest
Legal experts say the pictures breach Saddam's human rights
The Sun has published new pictures of Saddam Hussein - and two of his top lieutenants - a day after it showed the ex-Iraqi leader in his underpants.

The newspaper said it was proud to run the photos it described as "iconic images", despite claims they breached Saddam's human rights.

The US military and the White House vowed to "aggressively" investigate how the photos appeared in the paper.

The new picture shows Saddam clad in white robes behind prison wire.

The former leader is being held by US troops at an undisclosed location in Iraq as he awaits trial on numerous charges.

These pictures are an extraordinary iconic news image that will still be being looked at the end of this century
Graham Dudman
News International

These include claims he murdered rivals, gassed Iraqi Kurds and used violence to suppress uprisings.

The newspaper also ran photos of two top members of the former Iraqi regime, in prison at a secret location - thought to be the Iraqi capital.

They are identified as Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as "Chemical Ali", and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash dubbed "Mrs Anthrax".

Defending the decision to publish, the Sun's managing editor Graham Dudman said the pictures were "an extraordinary scoop" that had attracted the attention of the world's media.

"We are astonished that some people seem more concerned about Saddam Hussein doing his own laundry when he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

"This is a sort of modern-day Adolf Hitler. These pictures are an extraordinary iconic news image that will still be being looked at the end of this century."

'Backwards'

The Sun said it would fight any legal action after Saddam's chief lawyer pledged to sue the newspaper.

It also said it was leaked the photographs by members of the US military who hoped it would stop the insurgency in Iraq.

But some commentators suggested it might provoke Saddam-loyalists.

US President George W Bush said he did not think the photos would encourage insurgents in Iraq.

"I think they're inspired by an ideology that's so barbaric and backwards that it's hard for many in the Western world to comprehend how they think," he said.

But the US military said it was disappointed that someone with the responsibility for Saddam had appeared to have taken and leaked the photos.

HAVE YOUR SAY
It is disgusting to see Saddam's pictures
Akash, Birmingham

Legal experts also said the photos - possibly taken more than a year ago - may breach Geneva Convention rules on the humane treatment of prisoners of war.

The conventions say countries must protect prisoners of war in their custody from "public curiosity".

This was backed by Steve Crawshaw of pressure group Human Rights Watch who described the publication of the photos as an "absolute basic breach".

"However we describe his status, it's absolutely clear that the Geneva Convention does apply to Saddam Hussein."

Several Arab commentators have also suggested the photos could increase anti-American feeling in the region.




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