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5/7/03 - VICTIMS OF SADDAM'S TERROR - 2003-05-08

On a remote corner of the grounds of the Baghdad police academy stands a prison that until recently was the private jail of Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein's eldest son. Hundreds of prisoners were kept here in dark, crowded cells. They included members of Iraq's national soccer team -- imprisoned for losing to a team from Qatar; drivers who failed to yield to Uday's car; businessmen who failed to pay extortion money; and anyone else Uday didn't like. It is just one of many prisons used by the Saddam Hussein regime to terrorize the Iraq people. The horrors committed here haunt the memory of many Iraqis, including Maha Alattar, an Iraq refugee:

"Inside these torture chambers we saw the human meat grinders. We saw chemical pools that they dissolve people in. We saw rooms that [are] specially for sexual abuse. Many women entered these prisons inside Iraq when they were fifteen or fourteen years old. They left many years later, with three, four, five children because of rape."

Thousands of Iraqis were murdered by Saddam Hussein's secret police. Their relatives remember the terror, as President George W. Bush recounted:

"I spoke with Najda Egaily, a Sunni Muslim from Basra who moved to the United States five years ago. Najda learned the price of dissent in Iraq in 1988, when her brother-in-law was killed after laughing at a joke about Saddam Hussein in a house that was bugged. In Iraq, Najda says, we could never speak to anyone about Saddam Hussein -- we had to make sure the windows were closed. The window are now open."

Saddam Hussein's machinery of terror is gone. Now the Iraqi people are free to rebuild their lives and establish democratic institutions to protect their newly won freedom. And Americans are glad, as President Bush observed:

"People who live in Iraq deserve the same freedom that you and I enjoy here in America. And after years of tyranny, that freedom has finally arrived."

The statues of Saddam Hussein have come down. His legacy is a memory of horrors the people of Iraq never want to live through again.