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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Tariq Aziz, in Prison, Says U.S. Broke its Word

WASHINGTON (CN) - Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein's deputy primer minister and foreign secretary, and the best-known spokesman for the regime, claims Presidents Bush and Obama broke Bush's promise of safe passage out of Iraq, by throwing him into a U.S. military prison in Iraq, where he still languishes.

Aziz, 74, who is imprisoned "most likely" at Camp Cropper in Baghdad, or possibly in the Baghdad Central Prison, sued for breach of contract.

Aziz claims he "relied to his detriment upon representations ... that were not fully honored." He sued President Obama, former President Bush, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.

Aziz claims that on April 23, 2003, while he was at his sister's house in Baghdad, he "entered into an agreement while with agents representing the U.S. military, U.S. government, and then-President George W. Bush. In return for Aziz's voluntary surrender and subsequent debriefing, he and his family were guaranteed safe passage and were to be escorted to Amman, Jordan. On 24 April 2003, upon Aziz's understanding the George W. Bush had personally guaranteed the above mentioned agreement, Aziz surrendered to the United States military to be debriefed. On 26 April 2003, then-President Bush partially complied with the agreement and provided Aziz's family safe passage to Amman aboard a U.S. military aircraft. Among the Iraqi officials held by U.S. forces, Aziz was the only individual whose family was offered and subsequently provided safe passage out of Iraq. However, in contravention of the agreement with the defendants upon which Aziz relied, Aziz was left behind at Camp Cropper, a U.S.-run military prison, and has been detained ever since."

Aziz says he is in poor health after more than 9 years in prison.

Aziz says his "final debriefing" was in 2005. But in a peculiar sidelight, Aziz claims: "Until 2007 he was also questioned by various security services of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Australia. In one of these debriefing sessions a former CNN reporter, whom the plaintiff suspected of being a member of the CIA, was present. On each of these latter occasions Aziz was questioned solely about British Member of Parliament Mr. George Galloway. Aziz was not questioned about either the 'Oil for Food' program or the alleged 'Weapons of Mass Destruction.'"

Galloway, a member of the Labour Party, opposed the second Iraq war. He has also been an advocate for Palestinian people's rights.

Aziz seeks specific performance of contract, and wants to be sent, or rendered, to a country where there is no foreseeable or imminent risk of imprisonment or execution.

He is represented by Mitchell Watkins, of Zurich, Switz., who is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

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