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Who Really Caught Saddam? Reporter Yvonne Ridley Says Kurdish Forces Captured Saddam and Handed Him To U.S. Forces

StoryDecember 23, 2003
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We speak with journalist Yvonne Ridley who reported in last weekend’s Sunday Express that Saddam Hussein was actually captured by Kurdish forces who then drugged him and abandoned him for U.S. troops to find after brokering a deal. In 2001, Ridley was imprisoned for 10 days by the Taliban while on assignment in Afghanistan.

On December 15th, the head of the U.S. occupation in Iraq, Paul Bremer, held an early morning press conference. His first words were "Ladies and Gentlemen, we got him." This was how millions of people around the world learned of the capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

U.S. forces said they captured Saddam at about 8:30 Saturday night Iraq time after members of his extended family tipped off interrogators as to his whereabouts.

A week after Bremer’s announcement, a different account of Saddam’s capture has emerged.

An article in last weekend’s British Sunday Express, says "The full story of the fallen dictator’s capture last Saturday in a "spider hole" near his birthplace of Tikrit exposes the version peddled by American spin doctors as incomplete."

According to the Sunday Express, Saddam was actually captured by Kurdish forces who then drugged him and abandoned him for U.S. troops to find after brokering a deal. The article quotes unnamed British and Iraqi military intelligence officers.

The Express also reports that secret talks are underway to sentence Saddam to life imprisonment in Qatar after a "showcase trial."

We speak with the author of the article–freelance veteran journalist Yvonne Ridley. She joins us on the phone from Doha, Qatar.

  • Yvonne Ridley, freelance journalist and author. Yvonne Ridley is a veteran journalist who has written for various British publications including The Observer and The Independent. She left the full-time staff of Sunday Express in December 2001. She did some work for BBC radio in Afghanistan and for Channel Five news in Iraq. She was recently fired amid controversy from her editorial position at AlJazeera.net. In September 2001, Yvonne Ridley was imprisoned for 10 days by the Taliban in Afghanistan after being caught disguised in a burqa on the back of a donkey while on assignment for the Sunday Express. At the time, the Taliban had barred entry to foreign correspondents. She has published a book of her account entitled In the Hands of the Taliban. Her latest book is Ticket to Paradise, a fiction, due out at the end of the year.

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