Skip to comments.He will face justice on Earth and in heaven, says acid bath victim
Posted on 12/15/2003 7:40:33 PM PST by saquin
NOT many people survived Saddam Husseins acid baths in the notorious torture cells of the Palace of the End. Fewer yet will have the chance to confront the brutal dictator with their scarred flesh. For Abdulwahad al-Obeidi, however, just such a moment of reckoning is looming after three decades of pain.
Mr Al-Obeidi, a polite and gentle man of 63, has been asked by the Iraqi Governing Council and the ministry of human rights to join a group of 25 victims of Saddams torture cells to visit the jailed tyrant and confront him with the physical evidence of his brutal regime.
That evidence is a vast scar that covers his back, his arms and sides, indelible evidence of what once went on in Saddams name in Iraqs packed prisons. Mr Al-Obeidi survived being dipped in an acid pool, an experience that was expected to lead to a cruel, lingering death. Only by a miracle did he survive.
I want to say to Saddam, You and your regime denied you had such torture while the Iraqi people have the evidence that political prisoners were tortured. Mr Al Obeidi told The Times at his home in Baghdad yesterday.
When Mr Al-Obeidi was a naval captain in the early 1970s, he insisted on reserving a room aboard his ship for daily prayers at a time when Saddams secular Baath party was cracking down on religious groups.
Accused of organising an Islamic resistance party, he was jailed in a Baghdad prison know as the Palace of the End where every week he was forced to watch as Saddams chief torturer, Nadhim Kazzar, selected one prisoner, insulted him and then emptied a pistol magazine into him.
He would say, This was his fate, and this too will be your destiny, Mr Al-Obeidi said.
Jailed in 1971, three years after Saddams Baath Party seized power, he was incarcerated and tortured for two years. He endured regular beatings, when his guards would hang him upside down and whip him with electrical cables. Electric shocks were another frequent torture.
His children were banned from taking any job in the public sector, while his son Ahmed was himself detained on trumped-up charges of dodging military duty and tortured. He still suffers from depression, thirty years later. Then, in 1973, a group of guards took him to the death room, where prisoners were dispatched in a gruesome manner, dropped into a pool of acid. The men held Mr alObeidis arms and legs and, for a second, dipped his back into the bath. It was unspeakable, you cant imagine the pain. I felt at that moment, and it may have been just seconds, that the heat inside my body was 1,000 degrees, he said in a calm voice born of 30 years of suffering.
Expecting him to die the skin was burned off his back, exposing the vertebrae in places Mr Al-Obeidis tormentors released him from prison. Somehow he managed to hang on long enough for his family to sneak him out of the country to England, where he spent six months receiving treatment at Londons Westminster Hospital.
For fear of his story leaking out, he told the doctors he was suffering from cancer, although he suspects they never believed him. They treated him anyway, discreetly avoiding any probing questions. When he had recovered, he returned to his family in Iraq, where he now works as a muezzin, calling the faithful to prayer at his local mosque. Now, he wants justice to take its course, on Earth and in heaven.
We believe in justice. The ultimate penalty will be Gods justice, said Mr Al-Obeidi, who is ready to testify against Saddam when he eventually stands trial.
He did not, however, express an opinion on whether the former dictator should be executed. I believe in justice, I dont want any specific thing to happen to him, he said. As a Muslim, he recalled the Koranic proverb, With oppression comes bad luck for the oppressor.
Mr Al-Obeidi is convinced that Saddam is already suffering divine retribution, and he cites the cramped and undignified hole in which he was forced to live when US soldiers arrested him on Saturday evening.
He must have had time to reflect on what he did and how he put so many people in such cells for no reason, and to think about both the sons who were so dear to him. Uday and Qusay Hussein were killed in a gunfight with American forces in July.
Mr Al-Obeidis daughter thinks such a fate would be too good for Saddam.
When he was tormenting us we longed to die, it would be a mercy. I think he should be put in a cage in the zoo and every Iraqi should be able to punish him however he sees fit, she said.
While they are there, they should be allowed to put one of Saddam's legs through one of plastic shredders Uday and Qusay loved so much.
He won't be needing both of them anyway.
They should confront American "Liberals" and Democrats and European leftists, who, if they had had their way, would have prevented President Bush from liberating Iraq and, through their foolishness, had they had their way, would have left the American people vulnerable to such monsters as Saddam.
Didn't that person mean to say "on Earth and in hell"?
I wonder what would happen if the U.S. threatened to hand him over to the Iraqis? If he'd beg for us to keep him instead.
Achilles dragged Hector three times around Troy.
Old cowboy movies had bad guys drug behind horses, a little faster than bad guys could run, for a long time.
Drag him through Kuwait, north through Iraq, finally into the Kurd regions, behind a horse, with an Iraq military escort and a doctor--to keep him from being killed prematurely by angry mobs or road-rash. Then let the Kurds play that game on horseback--the one where they play keepaway with a calf-carcass--with what's left of Saddam's person.
Is this too much to ask?
When he had recovered, he returned to his family in Iraq,
After all that, he returned? From England?
Does some of this story sound a bit far-fetched to anyone else? Hey, it's not that I doubt Saddam was capable of this sort of thing. But... hmm.... I don't know....
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