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1990: Outrage at Iraqi TV hostage show

VIDEO : Saddam Hussein with western hostages on Iraqi TV

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has appeared on state television with western hostages, provoking a storm of outrage.

Saddam told the group of more than a dozen mainly British people they had been detained to prevent war and said Iraq wanted to see that they were safe.

They are among hundreds of foreigners being held in Iraq since its invasion of Kuwait at the beginning of August.

However, the Iraqi leader told them they were not being held as "human shields" saying Iraq was in a position to destroy any attacker.

Saddam singled out one young British boy - named only as Stuart - and ruffled the child's hair.

Speaking through an interpreter, he asked Stuart if he was getting his milk.


" The manipulation of children in that sort of way is contemptible"

Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd

The Iraqi leader told the group: "We hope your presence as guests here will not be for too long.

"Your presence here, and in other places, is meant to prevent the scourge of war."

They would become heroes of peace, Saddam added.

The detainees, who looked strained and nervous, were promised tuition for their children and given permission to write to their families.

At the end of the 30-minute taped appearance, the Iraqi leader posed for photographs with the hostages before shaking each one by the hand.

A spokesman for the Gulf Support Group, set up by relatives of stranded Britons, said the interview "made all of us feel sick".

The British Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, also criticised the broadcast.

Mr Hurd said: "I think the manipulation of children in that sort of way is contemptible."

The TV appearance has also been condemned by the US.

In Context
Saddam made a second TV appearance with the hostages.

In early September the women and children, including five-year old Stuart Lockwood, were allowed to fly home.

The men were not allowed to leave until early December.

Stuart Lockwood returned with his family to Worcester, central England but suffered a personal loss in 2001 when his father, Derek, died of a heart attack.

The refusal of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to withdraw his troops from Kuwait led to the UN-backed Operation Desert Storm in January 1991.

It would end in February with the defeat of the Iraqis and their subsequent forced departure from Kuwait.


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