A man claiming to be a relative of late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is seeking political asylum in Tajikistan.
The deputy chief of the traffic police in Tajikistan’s southern district of Farhor, Mahmad Izatulloev, told RFE/RL on July 29 that a 47-year-old man, who identified himself as Abdulla ibn-Akhmad al-Arabiya, had been detained while illegally crossing the Tajik-Afghan border on July 13.
Izatulloev said the man, who is fluent in five languages, told Tajik officials that he has served in Hussein's secret services and was sentenced to five years in jail after the Iraqi dictator was toppled in 2003.
The man said he moved to Afghanistan after serving his prison term and wants to get political asylum status in Tajikistan.
Izatulloev said Tajik authorities are investigating the claims.