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SLUG: 2-310896 Saddam Capture Wrap (L-O)
DATE:>
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=12/15/03

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=SADDAM CAPTURE WRAP (L-O)

NUMBER=2-310896

BYLINE=STEPHANIE HO

DATELINE=WASHINGTON

INTERNET=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: One day after the United States announced the capture of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the top issue has become what to do with him. As V-O-A's Stephanie Ho reports from Washington, President Bush made assurances Monday that Saddam would face a fair and public trial.

TEXT: As U-S interrogators continue questioning Saddam Hussein at an undisclosed location, President Bush told reporters in Washington he would be skeptical of anything the former Iraqi dictator had to say.

/// BUSH ACT #1 ///

He's a deceiver. He's a liar. He's a torturer. He's a murderer. I can't imagine why he would change his attitude, since he'll be treated humanely by (the) U-S coalition, U-S troops.

/// END ACT ///

When asked if he felt Saddam should be executed, Mr. Bush did not answer directly.

/// BUSH ACT #2 ///

I've got my own personal views on how he ought to be treated. But I am not an Iraqi citizen. It is going to be up to the Iraqis to make those decisions.

/// END ACT ///

But the President said Saddam would get a fair trial in Iraq.

/// BUSH ACT #3 ///

Of course, we want the world to say, you know, he got a fair trial. Because whatever justice is meted out needs to stand international scrutiny.

/// END ACT ///

Speaking from London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he sees no need for Saddam to be tried by an international tribunal.

/// BLAIR ACT ///

Of course we should make sure that there is a proper and independent and fair process, but I am quite sure the Iraqis have the capability of doing that. We and other countries will work with them to make sure it is correct.

/// END ACT ///

Asked if Saddam should face the death penalty, Mr. Blair said Iraqis should decide what punishment is appropriate. Britain and other countries in the European Union have outlawed the death penalty and have vigorously opposed executions abroad.

In the Middle East, Hossam Zaki, spokesman for the Arab League, said despite any atrocities Saddam committed, the organization's 22 members also expect him to be treated fairly.

/// ZAKI ACT ///

The United States, now that it has him (Saddam) in custody, will have to be very cautious in how to treat him and what kind of laws it applies on him because this all has to do with the message the United States wants to get out in the Arab street -- whether it is a force for justice or a force just for the sake of it.

/// END ACT ///

U-S authorities have said Saddam is a prisoner of war, and therefore will be treated according to the Geneva Conventions. International Committee of the Red Cross spokesman Florian Westphal said this means his organization expects to be invited to see him.

/// WESTPHAL ACT ///

We will not consider the case of Saddam Hussein any differently from the case of any other prisoner of war or civilian internee. People who are protected by the Geneva Conventions have the right to be visited by the I-C-R-C. We take this obligation on us extremely seriously.

/// END ACT ///

///REST OPT ///

In Iraq, U-S troops took foreign journalists to see the small underground room near Tikrit where Saddam was captured Saturday.

V-O-A correspondent Alisha Ryu said the entrance was literally a hole in the ground.

/// RYU ACT ///

The soldiers discovered a cloth carpet covered with dirt. Pulling the carpet back, they found a Styrofoam panel that plugged a hole leading to a tiny chamber, just large enough for a man to squeeze into.

/// END ACT ///

Major Brian Reed says Special Forces soldiers peering down into the hole saw a wild-looking man with an unkempt beard who addressed them in English.

/// REED ACT ///

He said, 'I am Saddam Hussein. I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate.' And the response from the U-S troops was, 'President Bush sends his regards.'

/// END ACT ///

President Bush said he had a simple message for Saddam -- good riddance. (SIGNED)

NEB/SHO/FC



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