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UPDATED: 14:23, June 28, 2004
Saddam to be given to Iraq police soon, CBS says
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Saddam Hussein will be handed over to Iraqi police by the United States in a process designed to show Iraqis their former leader in handcuffs and under Iraqi control, CBS reported on Sunday.

"We wanted to show our people that this miserable soul is in the hands of Iraqis now," Iraqi National Security Advisor Muwafak al-Rubaie told the CBS Evening News.

Rubaie said that when the time came "very soon," two American soldiers would take a handcuffed Saddam from his cell and turn him over to four Iraqi policemen. Saddam is then to be taken before a judge, where he will stand without handcuffs.

"The judge will read him his rights and then issue an arrest warrant against Saddam Hussein," Rubaie told CBS. The former dictator will then be put back in handcuffs and returned to his cell.

CBS said the process would allow Iraqis to see Saddam under their country's system of justice and in handcuffs.

A Pentagon spokesman had no information on the handover of Saddam.

Earlier, interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said on CNN's "Late Edition," that he expected the Iraqis to take custody of Saddam "very soon, I think. I can't tell you probably now. It will be either hopefully the 2nd or 3rd of July."

The transfer of power from the United States to the interim government is due to take place on June 30.

However, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, appearing on the same program, said while the United States may give formal custody of Saddam to the Iraqis, it was likely the deposed Iraqi president would remain in U.S. hands for much longer.

"That's also being worked out," Powell said, making a distinction between "the legal transfer, of who has legal authority and responsibility for him, and then there's physical custody, who can best protect him, but also best keep him from escaping."

"I would expect that legal custody would be handed over shortly, but physical custody would remain in our hands for the foreseeable future," Powell said.

He said documents were being drawn with the governing coalition and the U.S.-led multinational force "and we hope two or three or fourth of July Saddam would be in the custody of the Iraqi people and the Iraq government."

Source: agencies

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