>CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – Saddam Hussein feared catching AIDS or other diseases during his U.S.-supervised captivity, a leading Arab newspaper said Monday in publishing excerpts of his prison writings.
The London-based Al-Hayat said the comments came in portions of Saddam’s prison diaries that it obtained from U.S. authorities. The U.S. military confirmed some of the late Iraqi leader’s writings had been released.
When Saddam found out his U.S. military guards were also using his laundry line to dry clothes, he wrote that he demanded they stop, according to the excerpts.
“I explained to them that they are young and they could have young people’s diseases,” Saddam wrote. “My main concern was to not catch a venereal disease, an HIV disease, in this place.” He said some soldiers ignored his request.
A U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Matthew Morgan, declined to describe the writings as a formal diary, but said the former Iraqi president produced thousands of pages of writing while in custody.
“The select material that has been previously released was viewed here by Arabic speakers and reported on accordingly,” he said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Saddam was captured by American soldiers on Dec. 13, 2003, just over eight months after his regime was toppled by a U.S.-led invasion. An Iraqi tribunal convicted him of crimes against humanity and he was hanged at the end of 2006.
In the excerpts, Saddam also described having an intimate conversation with his American doctor about women and said his English gradually improved by talking to his captors.
“I was speaking it using my hands and signs if I could not find the exact word,” he wrote. “But our language (Arabic) is more beautiful and deeper.”
Saddam also wrote how hard it was to have to ask for things, such as once when he requested a flower.
“It was a serious sacrifice from me to ask for the first time in my life,” he wrote.
Al-Hayat also published excerpts from what it described as poetry written by Saddam in prison.
In April 2004, the world had the first glimpses of Saddam’s cell when two newspapers printed pictures of him emerging from the bathroom in his underwear after washing clothes. The Sun in London and the New York Post said the pictures were provided by U.S. military sources to “undermine the Iraqi rebellion.”