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American troops 'screen' Saddam jail notes lawyer

AFP | January 7, 2007

The US military in Iraq has confiscated Saddam Hussein's books as well as notes and poems he wrote in jail to "screen" them before returning them to his lawyers, one of his attorneys has said.

"We asked the Americans to hand us the books the president (Saddam) read in jail as well as the notes and poems he wrote but they want to screen them and read them in full before giving them to us," Jordanian lawyer Issam al-Ghazzawi told AFP.

"They promised to give them back once they are done but they did not set a date," he added.

Saddam was a prolific writer and is known to have penned several books and poems in his lifetime.

Ghazzawi said he asked the US authorities in Baghdad about the Koran, the Muslim's holy book, which Saddam held at all times during his trials.

"The president (Saddam) willed his Koran to Badr, a lawyer and son of Awad Ahmed al-Bandar," who was sentenced to hang along with Saddam and Barzan al-Tikriti, Ghazzawi said.

"The Americans said the Koran is with the assistant state prosecutor, Munkiz al-Faraon," who witnessed Saddam's execution on December 30 in Baghdad.

Saddam was seen clasping the Koran as he was taken to the gallows and then handed it over to one of the witnesses and asked him to give it to someone named Badr.

In November, an Iraqi court found Saddam, Barzan and Bandar guilty of crimes against humanity for the killing of 148 Shiite civilians in the 1980s.

Barzan and Bandar were due to hang along with Saddam but are still awaiting their execution, said the lawyer, who met the pair on Wednesday in Baghdad.

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