The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Saddam defence minister surrenders

Mosul (Iraq), Sept. 19 (Reuters): Iraq’s former defence minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed, number 27 on Washington’s wanted list of former top officials under Saddam Hussein, has surrendered to US forces, an Iraqi mediator said today.

Dawood Bagistani, a local human rights official who acted as a go-between in talks with Ahmed, said the ex-minister surrendered at a house in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and was being taken to Baghdad by US forces.

“At eight ’clock this morning (0400 GMT), Sultan Hashim Ahmed and his family surrendered to coalition forces,” he said. Bagistani said Ahmed gave himself up after US officials agreed in negotiations that he was innocent of “crimes”. “We didn’t take this step until the US announced that Sultan Hashim was innocent of crimes,” Bagistani said. “This is a moral commitment by the US government.”

“We do not sell people like Sultan Hashim. It is true he served the Iraqi government but he is an innocent man and we want you (the US) to treat him honestly,” he added.

Mosul is where Saddam’s sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed in a gunbattle with US forces in July and Ahmed’s surrender may fuel speculation that US troops could be closing in on other top fugitives, perhaps even Saddam himself.

Ahmed was seen by Saddam’s side in video footage, said to have been shot in Baghdad on April 9, of the Iraqi leader waving to cheering crowds in a northern suburb of the capita. In the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam chose Ahmed to head the Iraqi delegation at ceasefire talks near the border with Kuwait. However, he was regarded largely as a figurehead in the Iraqi armed forces with real control resting with Saddam. Ahmed is the eight of hearts in a pack of playing cards issued to US troops to help them identify fugitive Iraqi leaders.

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