I'm ready to die: Saddam Hussein | india | Hindustan Times
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I'm ready to die: Saddam Hussein

Saddam is expected to return to court on Monday for resumption of a trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

india Updated: May 15, 2006 01:41 IST

Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has reportedly told one of his lawyers that he is not scared of execution and is ready to die, a British daily reported on Sunday.

"I am ready to die," Saddam was quoted as saying by the Sunday Times during an interview to his lawyer and confidant Bushra Khalil in his Baghdad prison.

"I am not scared of execution," he said.

Saddam is expected to return to court on Monday for resumption of a trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity that has lasted almost seven months.

Khalil, a Lebanese lawyer in her forties and now the only woman Saddam meets, reportedly spoke to him for nearly five hours, mostly about international politics and even a little on poetry.

He confided that he had no fear of death and seemed to have accepted his fate. "I took the decision to die the day I tried to assassinate Abdel Karim Qasim," he said, referring to a botched coup against a former leader that forced him to flee the country in 1959. In Iraq, hanging is the customary form of capital punishment.

Saddam seemed fit and well. "I get on very well with my American bodyguards," he said. "They are changed frequently but we get to know each other, I like them and we become friends."

Saddam was far more interested in discussing foreign affairs with her than his own trial. "Saddam said US involvement in Iraq had bolstered Iranian military ambitions," Khalil said.

Khalil first met Saddam in February. She tried to talk to him about the conduct of the trial but he did not want to discuss it. Instead he was worried about the latest events.

"In the second meeting we had more time and we spoke about different topics - the trial, international affairs and poetry. I gave him a book by Al-Mutanabbi (regarded as one of the greatest Arab poets) and he was very happy to receive it as he had wanted to read it."

During their last meeting, Saddam told her about his new epic work.

"I didn't have time to write poetry before," he said, "but now I have had the time to become a poet."