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Saddam didn't have body doubles: Doctor

world Updated: Mar 28, 2010 17:27 IST

PTI
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More than three years after Saddam Hussein's execution, his former personal physician has claimed the deposed Iraqi dictator never used body doubles to confuse assassins.

According to Dr Ala Bashir, "The stories about Saddam Hussein having body doubles, to foster the impression that the Iraqi dictator was everywhere, are nonsense. You can't make somebody look like somebody else.

"And, Saddam would never have allowed that anyway; imagine the danger he would have been in if his enemies could have used someone to replace him."

The last time Bashir, now 70, claimed to have seen Saddam was just three weeks before the US-led invasion in 2003 when the Iraqi President visited the hospital where he worked, complaining of a bad back.

"He was very cool. You saw that later, when he was executed. He must have rehearsed that moment many times in his mind, but still he had extraordinary self-control," the former personal physician was quoted by 'The Sunday Times' as saying.

After leading a team, which had reconstructed the faces and bodies of 20,000 soldiers injured in the Iran-Iraq war, he said he was called for more serious cases to perform facelifts and nose jobs for Saddam's girlfriends and female relatives.

And, one of his gruesome regular tasks was fixing up girls who had been burnt with cigarettes or cut by Uday, Saddam's psychotic son. Uday would abuse women and then use a branding iron to imprint the word "shame" on their flesh.

Bashir also operated on Uday after an assassination attempt in 1996, which left him brain-damaged, though Bashir noted it was hard to tell how extensive the damage had been: "He was already insane."

However, Bashir, who now lives in Britain, said that he never witnessed Saddam's violent excesses, though fear of the dictator kept him wary.