CAIRO, Egypt – Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein feared catching AIDS or some other l disease during his U.S.-supervised captivity, according to excerpts of his prison writings published in a leading Arab newspaper Monday.
The London-based pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat published excerpts of what it described as Saddam’s prison dairies which it said its correspondent obtained from U.S. authorities.
The U.S. military confirmed that pages of Saddam’s writings have been released.
When the former Iraqi leader found out that his U.S. military guards were also using his laundry line to dry clothes, he wrote that he demanded they stop.
“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 that some of the soldiers ignored his request.
U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Matthew Morgan declined to describe the writings as a ‘diary,’ saying that thousands of pages having been produced by the former leader while he was 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 U.S. forces in December 2003, the same year that a U.S.-led invasion toppled his regime.
He was tried and convicted for crimes against humanity by an Iraqi tribunal and then executed at the end of 2006.
He described having an intimate conversation with his American doctor about women and how 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.
In April 2004, the world had the first glimpses of Saddam’s cell when an American and a British tabloid printed pictures of him emerging from the bathroom in his underwear after washing his clothes.
The newspapers, the Sun in London and the New York Post said the pictures were provided by American military sources to “undermine the Iraqi rebellion.”
Al-Hayat also published excerpts from what it described as poetry written by Saddam in his prison.