Monday, May 23, 2005

Iraq interrogator gives details of Saddam jail conditions

LONDON: Saddam Hussein is being kept in a jail where the small, windowless cells have only a small ventilation flap from which to view the outside world, which can be locked as a punishment, a former interrogator said in an interview published late Saturday. Inmates spent 23 hours a day in their two-metre (6.7-foot) square cells at Camp Cropper, the top-secret Baghdad prison where Saddam and other former top members of his ousted Iraq regime are kept, he said. The revelations - two days after British and US newspapers printed photographs of a half-naked Saddam in his cell - came from Dr Rod Barton, an Australian who was once a senior weapons inspector in Iraq. There were around 100 prisoners kept at the “bleak” Camp Cropper, inside three rows of single-storey cell buildings, Barton, who conducted interrogations at the prison, told the Observer newspaper, published on Sunday. The only view to the outside from the cells was a ventilation flap about a metre (three feet) from the bottom of the steel doors, he said, giving no specific information about Saddam’s conditions. “Sometimes the prisoners would push the flap open to look out into the exercise yard or to get fresh air. The guards could lock the flap as punishment,” he told the paper. Exercise was on a rotation basis, and was half an hour per day before being increased to an hour following protests by the Red Cross, Barton added. afp

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