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Amnesty: Saddam photo humiliating

By CNN's Peter Wilkinson

In the new photo, Saddam wears traditional Arab clothing as he meets Ahmad Chalabi, left.
In the new photo, Saddam wears traditional Arab clothing as he meets Ahmad Chalabi, left.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Leading human rights organization Amnesty International has branded as humiliating the publication of a new photo of Saddam Hussein.

An Iraqi newspaper on Thursday published the picture of the deposed Iraqi president in captivity, and Baghdad residents were hurrying to buy copies, said CNN correspondent Satinder Bindra.

The photo is the first picture of Saddam to be released since his capture at the weekend when the U.S.-led coalition showed images and video at a news conference of him being examined.

Those pictures were defended by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who said it was clearly important that people knew Saddam was alive and really had been caught.

The Pentagon has said the interrogation of the former Iraqi leader has been handed over to the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. government's lawyers are reviewing his legal status.

However, Amnesty International said Saddam should be classified as a prisoner of war and that his treatment should be covered by the Geneva Convention.

Nicole Choveiry, Middle East spokeswoman for Amnesty International, criticized the release of any image that seemed to serve no purpose.

"We didn't disagree with a picture of Saddam being released that proved his identity but not with those that showed him being medically examined," she told CNN.

"Saddam Hussein should be classified as a prisoner of war. If he's not a prisoner of war, I don't know what is," she said.

"He must not be used as a public curiosity and as a prisoner of war he is entitled to humane treatment. Showing him in custody falls under the category of humiliating a prisoner of war."

In the photo released on Thursday, but taken earlier this week, Saddam's beard is shaved and it appears that his hair has been trimmed.

He is pictured wearing traditional Arab clothing as he is seen meeting Ahmed Chalabi, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council. The newspaper is owned by Chalabi.

Copies of the newspaper were selling quickly in Baghdad, many of them apparently to be kept as souvenirs of the end of Saddam's rule, CNN's Bindra said.

Bindra said the papers were selling in many parts of the capital for up to 30 cents -- twice the normal price.


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