Saddam says his soul to be 'sacrificed'
Former Iraqi dictator sends letter to friend from prison
"My brother, love your people, love Palestine, long live Palestine, love your nation," wrote Saddam Hussein.
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) -- Imprisoned former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein wrote in a letter published Sunday that he is prepared to sacrifice himself for the Arab cause, and called on other Arabs to follow his example.
"In our glorious nation, my soul, and what I have been born on, is to be sacrificed to it," the letter said, in what the context suggested was an apparent reference to all Arabs.
Parts of the letter were published Sunday by two Jordanian newspapers. Saddam sent it to a friend in Jordan, who has asked not to be identified, said the International Committee of the Red Cross, which vouched for its authenticity.
The Red Cross delivered the missive from Saddam, who is awaiting trial on charges connected with a 1982 series of detentions and executions following an assassination attempt against him in Dujayl, north of Baghdad.
Saddam has been in custody since December 2003, when he was captured by U.S. troops. The letter appeared to include thoughts about his incarceration.
"Where is life without faith and love and the harmony which is inherited in our nation?" he wrote in Arabic.
"It is not too much for a man to answer the call of his nation with all that he possesses, and with his soul, yet it is what the nation deserves," the letter said, an apparent call for others to follow his lead.
"My brother, love your people, love Palestine, long live Palestine, love your nation," he wrote.
The single-page letter, undated and written in ink, was delivered August 16, Red Cross spokeswoman Rania Sidani said. The letter was partially blacked out by military censors, and the words "Family News Only" were stamped at the top in English.
But a lawyer representing Saddam, Khalil al-Dulaimi, said he was not aware of any letter.
And Abdul Haq al-Ani, whom Saddam's eldest daughter Raghad has identified as the family's lawyer, told CNN, "I have no idea about this thing. I cannot comment or help you in this matter."
Tayseer Homsi, a politician with the Jordanian Arab Baath Socialist Party, told reporters it was good for people to know the ousted leader's thoughts.
The charges stemming from the reprisals that followed the 1982 assassination attempt are the first of several Saddam is expected to face.
He appeared before an Iraqi tribunal in July 2004 to hear a list of preliminary charges against him.
The charges include the 1990 invasion of Kuwait; the 1986-88 Anfal campaign against the Kurdish minority in northern Iraq; the 1988 chemical attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja during that campaign; and the suppression of the 1991 revolts by Iraq's Kurdish and Shiite populations.
Shiites and Kurds were repressed by Saddam's regime. Sunni Arabs constituted the ruling class under Saddam's now-defunct Baath party, despite being a minority in the country.
But Sunnis largely boycotted January's election for a transitional government, with Shiites and Kurds faring best in the vote.
Disagreement among the three groups on the role of federalism is among the key sticking points that has caused a delay in the adoption of a draft constitution.
As the deadline approached last Monday, the National Assembly voted for a one-week extension to allow for further negotiations. (Full story)
CNN's Caroline Faraj contributed to this report.
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