A Jordanian attorney who claims he represents Saddam Hussein said on Wednesday he believes the ousted Iraqi leader was subjected to torture, although a copy of a letter reportedly sent to his daughters seems to show the ex-president in good spirits.
Mohammed Rashdan said he had a copy of a January 21 report by the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) that said the detainee's health was good but that he was "slightly wounded." It gave no details on the injury.
"This is blatant proof that the Iraqi president was subjected to physical and moral torture and violence," said Rashdan, who says Saddam's wife appointed him as attorney shortly after the ex-leader's December 13 capture.
Rashdan provided a copy of an ICRC form he said was filled out when the group visited Saddam. It listed his full name, date of birth and his health condition.
Rashdan also gave a copy of an undated letter carried by the ICRC from Saddam to his daughter, Raghad, who lives in Amman with her sister, Rana. Several paragraphs of the letter were censored out with black ink, leaving just a brief message.
"In the name of the Almighty and Merciful God... to my small family, to my big family," the letter said. "As for my spirit and morals, they are glittering with the blessing of God the creator and the great."
Largest US embassy
The US State Department is planning to have more than 900 Americans staff the US Embassy in central Baghdad, assisted by 600 to 700 Iraqis in the biggest American embassy in the world, department planners said on Wednesday.
A former palace of Saddam Hussein will serve as the new embassy until a site is chosen in the capital as a replacement for the embassy seized by Iraq in 1970, said Francis J. Ricciardone, the department's co-ordinator for Iraqi transition.