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UN, Rights Groups Welcome Saddam's Transfer

29 June 2004 -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and human rights organizations today welcomed the expected transfer of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and other top detainees to Iraqi legal custody.

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi earlier today announced that the country's ousted leader and up to 11 high-level detainees will be transferred to Iraqi legal custody tomorrow.

Annan said Iraqis need to see that justice is being done.

Human rights groups said the transfer is required by international law.

But Allawi told a news conference in Baghdad that the U.S. military will retain physical custody of Hussein. U.S. forces have had Hussein in custody since December, when they captured him outside of his hometown Tikrit.

"According to our request, the multinational forces will continue to keep them [Saddam Hussein and other top Ba'ath officials] in its [physical] custody until the Iraqi police is completely able to guarantee the safety and security of the accused," Allawi said.

Meanwhile, on the ground in Iraq, a roadside bomb blew up near a U.S. military convoy in Baghdad, killing three U.S. servicemen.

Officials also announced today that a British security consultant was killed in Iraq on 24 June.


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