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Uday's former secretary: 'I am safe now'

Abbas al Janabi talks to CNN on Wednesday. He served 15 years as Uday Hussein's press secretary.
Abbas al Janabi talks to CNN on Wednesday. He served 15 years as Uday Hussein's press secretary.

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(CNN) -- Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed Tuesday by U.S. troops in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in an hours-long attack and gunbattle. The Hussein brothers were notorious for their brutality during their father's rule.

Abbas al Janabi served as Uday Hussein's press secretary for nearly 15 years before defecting. He spoke from London with CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien on Wednesday about his reaction to his former employer's death.

AL JANABI: I got relieved and this is the first time after my defection I feel that I am safe now. Because, you know, living with those people for 15 years give me the experience to know them very well. I know they are cruel and I know they are responsible for most of the Iraqi miseries.

O'BRIEN: You know they're cruel because you experienced a lot of Uday's brutality firsthand. Describe for me what you went through.

AL JANABI: I had been sent to jail for more than nine times. During three times, he ordered his sluggers to torture me -- in the prison which is very notorious. In addition to that, he sent one of his bodyguards to pull out one of my teeth by pliers and, you know, this is -- with me. This happens with me and I am his secretary. What about the others?

O'BRIEN: It was said that the brothers hated each other. Were you surprised that they were found together?

AL JANABI: No. You know, when it is a hard time people come together. It is a very hard time, so I didn't find it surprising that they are together. It's very normal.

O'BRIEN: Details are sparse about exactly what happened but the word we're getting is that it was a six-hour firefight, very intense. Does that surprise you that Uday and Qusay would go down fighting to the very end?

AL JANABI: No, this is not surprising me because I know them very well. I know Uday's philosophy. When I was with him he always said that he is not going to surrender. This is his philosophy -- win or lose, die or live. This is his philosophy, so I think -- I expect this before and I said that before that he is going to fight till the last drop of his blood.

O'BRIEN: Will Iraqis across the country be celebrating today or do you think that Saddam Hussein needs to be captured or killed before Iraqis can breathe a sigh of relief?

AL JANABI: Well, if the people in the [United] States or in the coalition want to prove that they are right to stage this war, they have to capture Saddam Hussein because he is now the only man who knows about the mass destruction weapons. I know that Qusay knew about it, and Uday, along with [Abid Hamid] Mahmud, [Saddam's] secretary who has been arrested. So it is important to capture him and to try him and this -- will be very fair I think for the Iraqis.

O'BRIEN: U.S. officials say they are considering showing Iraqi citizens pictures of the dead bodies. Do you think proof is necessary before Iraqis believe that these two are really gone?

AL JANABI: Yes, this is very important for the Iraqis. You know in Iraq, let us say in 1991, many people staged and started to rise up against the regime when they [thought] that Saddam was killed -- later on, it appeared he was not. This is important, showing people, especially the type of Iraqi people. I am talking about different society, different culture, so they need to see anything to be proof, you know?


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