| The locked gate of the Balat al-Shuhada Sunni mosque in Baghdad. Thousands of Sunnis across Baghdad were observing a three-day prayer strike over a series of killings against Sunnis. (AFP)
London, May 21 (Reuters): Britain’s Sun tabloid published another picture today of Saddam Hussein in prison and robustly defended its decision to print such images despite Pentagon claims it may have violated the Geneva Conventions.
Britain’s best-selling daily newspaper sparked outrage from Saddam’s lawyers yesterday by publishing several photographs of the captive former Iraqi leader, including one showing him in his underpants.
US officials promised an aggressive investigation into who was responsible for the photographs, which they believe were taken more than a year ago. They said the images violated Pentagon rules and may have breached the Geneva Conventions.
But an unrepentant Sun followed up with another picture for today’s edition showing Saddam in a white robe behind a coil of barbed wire. He holds his palms outstretched and his head is slightly bowed, possibly in prayer. The paper also published two more pictures of former senior Iraqi figures apparently in captivity.
It identified a figure holding a walking stick as he stoops in front of a plastic chair in one grainy image as “Chemical Ali”, Ali Hassan al-Majid, the former Saddam lieutenant blamed for chemical gas attacks on Iraqi Kurds.
The Sun said another picture showed Huda Salih Mehdi Ammash, dubbed “Mrs Anthrax” by foreign newspapers as she is accused of helping Saddam try to rebuild Iraq’s biological warfare capacity in the 1990s. She is shown walking in a courtyard.
“The evil brute ' and his cruel henchmen ' deserve no one’s sympathy for anything,” declared the newspaper’s defence editor Tom Newton Dunn in an article accompanying the pictures.
He said Saddam was “hardly entitled to a single human courtesy” as 300,000 people had disappeared under his regime.
“Being snapped in his Y-fronts is the least of Saddam’s worries as he faces a possible death sentence for his crimes against his own people,” the Sun added in a leader article.
Washington is far behind in plans to pump $21 billion into Iraq’s reconstruction, bogged down by an insurgency that has killed hundreds of contractors and diverted funds to security, a US official said today.
“There is a long way to go. We recognise a lot of work needs to be done,” said William Taylor, the US official overseeing American rebuilding work in Iraq.