| The Saddam Hussein picture as it appeared on The Sun tabloid’s front page in London. (Reuters)
London, May 20 (Reuters): Washington promised an investigation today into how pictures of Saddam Hussein in his underpants were splashed across the front-page of Britain’s biggest-selling daily newspaper.
The imprisoned former Iraqi leader appeared on the front of The Sun, naked except for a pair of white briefs and holding a pair of trousers in his hand. The Sun quoted US military sources as saying they had handed over the pictures “in the hope of dealing a body blow to the resistance in Iraq”. Other photographs showed Saddam, with short, dyed-black hair and a moustache, washing clothes by hand and asleep on his bed.
The photos later appeared in the New York Post. Both papers are owned by Australian media baron Rupert Murdoch.
The Pentagon said their release was unauthorised and opened a probe to find who did it. The photos, which the Pentagon believed, were taken more than a year ago. They contravened Saddam’s rights as a prisoner and could have broken the Geneva Convention, the Pentagon said.
“Multi-National Forces-Iraq is disappointed at the possibility that someone responsible for the security, welfare, and detention of Saddam would take and provide these photos for public release,” a Pentagon statement said.
The White House said President George W. Bush had been told of the pictures and “strongly supports the aggressive and thorough investigation that is already under way.” Saddam's lawyers expressed outrage.
“In our opinion this is a violation of all international agreements and human dignity, therefore, we must sue the people responsible and the providers of these pictures, because if you look closely you can see that they were taken from his prison cell,” lawyer Ziad Khasawneh of Saddam’s defence team said.
“This is considered as another Abu Ghraib and we will take the necessary legal actions,” he said in Amman.