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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 December, 2003, 15:13 GMT
Clwyd calls for Saddam trial
Ann Clwyd MP
Ann Clwyd said Saddam should face judges in Iraq
Ann Clwyd, Britain's special representative to Iraq, has called for Saddam Hussein to face justice in his own country.

The Labour MP for the Cynon Valley - who backed war with Iraq on the grounds of the human rights record of Saddam Hussein's regime - said his arrest was "the best Christmas present I could possibly have".

Video footage of the ousted Iraqi dictator looking dishevelled and compliant after being found hiding in a hole in the ground has been released by the Americans.

Ms Clwyd, whose job is to gather information about human rights violations and to report back to Tony Blair, said: "The fact that Saddam has been caught is really a red letter day in the history of Iraq."

She told BBC Wales: "This is great news, of course. I heard about it just before nine o'clock this morning when a Kurdish friend phoned me.

The fact that he has been caught alive is very important because the hope now is that he will face a tribunal.
Ann Clwyd

"And I spoke to the Prime Minsiter of Kurdistan, who has Welsh connections, they had already started celebrating.

"I am very glad that he has been caught alive, that is very important. The fact that he had not been caught was always a threat.

"I was in Iraq five days ago and people were still talking about Saddam. They were afraid that he might come back.

"The fact that he has been caught alive is very important because the hope now is that he will face a tribunal.

Saddam Hussein before and after his latest shave
Saddam was found hiding in a hole near his home town

"To have taken him alive so he can stand trial is fantastic news for the families who have lost relatives

"The Iraqis themselves will decide that - with the help of people from other countries. Judges from Iraq will be making that decision."

Indict, the group which Ann Clwyd heads and which gathers evidence of war crimes, will be presenting evidence to any tribunal.

She said: "There is enough information to put him in prison for life."

Ms Clwyd has visited Iraq four times since end of major combat operations on 1 May but said she found many people on the streets were still too afraid to talk to her because they feared "the Ba'athists were watching".

People worried they would be targeted if Saddam somehow regained control of the country, she said.

"The capturing of Saddam will be a relief to the Iraqi people. They were afraid that he would come back.

Salam Hasan
Salam Hasan was forced from Iraq 23 years ago by Saddam

"I very much hope that this worry has now disappeared from the country."

Her comments were echoed in Wales by Salam Hussan, chair of the South Wales Iraqi Community and Refugee Association.

The property developer from Cardiff was forced by Saddam Hussein's regime to leave his Baghdad home in 1980 when he was a student - leaving his parents, brother and four sisters behind.

Now he cannot wait to go back to see them.

He said: "Iraqis in Wales are celebrating the capture of this evil dictator.

"We are very happy that we are rid of this evil man and his evil regime for ever."

"I started watching the TV and I was extemely happy - people phoned me and I phoned people to express our joy and happiness."

The former Iraqi dictator's capture has been welcomed by all the political parties in Wales.


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