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Saddam adviserís Hamburg home searched

Al-Saadi was also deputy minister of industry and, most recently, was assigned to deal with UN arms inspectors. He acted as Saddam's liaison with the inspectors and appeared often on television to issue denials that the Iraqi regime possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Saddam adviser's Hamburg home searched
DPA, 15 April 2003

HAMBURG - Authorities in Germany are investigating property in Hamburg owned by Saddam Hussein's top scientific adviser, who led a life of leisure in a leafy suburb with his wife and children for years while neighbours suspected nothing of his links to Baghdad, according to a published report Tuesday.

The report in Bild newspaper said Lieutenant General Amir al-Saadi owns a house in Hamburg where his German wife and three grown children until recently resided in seclusion.

Al-Saadi, 55, the architect of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons programmes, became the first top Iraqi leader to give himself up, surrendering Friday to US Marines in Baghdad after spending the war in the basement of his villa in the capital.

While al-Saadi lived out the final days of the Iraqi regime in Baghdad with his wife Helma, 60, it is unclear how many members of his immediate family may have remained in Germany, where al-Saadi was educated and where he met his wife and raised a family.

Authorities reportedly are looking for his daughter Miriam, 37, and two sons Adnan, 31, and Kais, 27.

The focus of investigations, according to the Bild report, is a two-story brick home in the middle-class Hamburg suburb of Hummelsbuettel which the al-Saadi family built in 1984.

Neighbours were shocked to learn that the soft-spoken al-Saadi was a high-ranking figure in Saddam's regime.

"We rarely saw him," one neighbour told the newspaper. "It was rumoured Herr al-Saadi was big in the oil business. That's why they tore down the small house that used to be on the property and built a big brick one."

The neighbour said the al-Saadis, though well-off, made a point of fitting in with the neighbourhood and did not flash their wealth.

"His wife was a school teacher and used to drive a Volkswagen Golf," the neighbour said. "They all spoke German with each other and they even had a German shepherd dog."

Al-Saadi studied chemistry as an undergraduate in Germany and got his PhD in London. He fell in love with Helma, who comes from Hamburg, and his decision to marry her in 1968 derailed his career in Iraq for a time.

Thrown out of the Iraqi armed forces for having wed a foreigner, al-Saadi was later rehabilitated personally by Saddam, who needed al- Saadi's services and who eventually promoted him to the rank of lieutenant general.

Al-Saadi was also deputy minister of industry and, most recently, was assigned to deal with UN arms inspectors. He acted as Saddam's liaison with the inspectors and appeared often on television to issue denials that the Iraqi regime possessed weapons of mass destruction.

In Hamburg, as al-Saadi's career blossomed over the years, his wife and children enjoyed the quiet pleasures of middle-class suburbia. They were members of a posh hockey club, the equivalent of an American country club, where son Kais still coaches a youth hockey team. Al-Saadi himself is still listed as a member of the club.

Al-Saadi and his wife were in Baghdad when UN inspectors immediately prior to the start of hostilities. They were still in the Iraqi capital when US forces moved into Baghdad and Saddam's regime crumbled about them.

Fluent in German, al-Saadi contacted a news team for Germany's ZDF television network on Friday, asking for safe conduct to US military commanders so he could turn himself in.

His name is on the US military's list of its top 55 wanted Iraqis and, in an interview with ZDF he said Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction.

"I'm saying this for posterity, for history, not for defending the regime," said the man whose face became well-known across the world after UN weapons inspections were resumed in November.

He said he decided to turn himself in after seeing a BBC report saying that US forces were seeking him. The US Central Command, which is commanding the war, issued its wanted list on Friday in the form of a pack of playing cars, in which al-Saadi appeared as the seven of diamonds.

Al-Saadi also told ZDF that he did not know where Saddam was.

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corrections 07.Aug.2004 22:41

corrections monamatt@hotmail.com

Although this article is an old one, but I find it neccessary to correct you concerning few issues, first of all Dr. Amer Al-Saadi is not 55 years old, he is now 66, he was born in 1938. Second, he did not study in Germany prior to his studying in England, he finished his high school in Baghdad and left to study in England until he got his PhD. He never lived in Germany, only visited while his wife and children where living there. They were not rich, but educated upper middle calss, his family is a very well respected one, and two of his brothers are famouse doctors in Baghdad, which means that he did not get rich working for saddam and his regime. His family were not living in seclusion in Germany, they were ordinary people, his wife a teacher and his daugher is a doctor and his two sons are brilliant clever young men. He is a good man and does not deserve to be treated as a war criminal and most of all it is sad to compare him to the others, the others that should be tried and sentenced, he was forced to do whatever he was doing, could not refuse, as we all knew, he would have put his whole family at risk, he sacraficed for the sake of others.