Fate of Saddam's body remains unclear

Iran Materials 30 December 2006 12:35 (UTC +04:00)

(AP) - The fate of Saddam Hussein's body remained unclear Saturday, with one Iraqi official saying it may eventually be handed over to his family.

A member of his defense team, however, was concerned that Saddam's remains would be destined for an unmarked grave, reports Trend.

National Security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie, who attended Saddam's execution told Iraqi state television that his body may be handed over to his family at some point, but that no decision had been made. The body, he said, was held by the government.

Saddam's immediate family, including his three daughters, all live outside Iraq.

Dubai-based al-Arabiya satellite TV quoted his daughter Raghad as having asked Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to request Saddam's body for temporary burial in the country. She hoped to eventually take her father's remains to Tikrit, Saddam's hometown north of Baghdad.

Issam Ghazzawi, a member of Saddam's defense team, said he was worried the body would be buried in an unmarked location.

"We do not know what they will do with Saddam's body," he said from Amman, Jordan. "They will bury him in an unknown location so nobody could be able to pay respect to the president."

Saddam's grave site could become a focus for the Sunni Arab insurgency that is particularly strong in the area near his hometown, where the former president was captured by American troops in December 2003.

Iraqi officials have refused to disclose the burial place of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike on June 7.

But Saddam Hussein's sons, Odai and Qusai Hussein, were buried just outside Tikrit after they were killed in a July 2003 gunbattle with U.S. troops in Mosul.