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Former Iraqi PM Dies In U.S. Custody

5 December 2005 -- Former Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Hamzah al-Zubaydi, once one of Saddam Hussein's most senior deputies in the early 1990s, has died in U.S. detention.

The United States confirmed today that al-Zubaydi died at a U.S. military hospital in Iraq on 2 December. He was 67.

The U.S. military had stated on 3 December that an individual had died in its custody, but did not refer to al-Zubaydi by name. His identity only became clear on 5 December when Saddam's half-brother, a co-defendant in his trial, revealed al-Zubaydi's death during a courtroom complaint about what he said were poor medical facilities for detainees.

The cause of al-Zubaydi's death remains unclear.

He was prime minister for two years in the early 1990s, and had been on the United States’ most-wanted list when the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in 2003.


Iraq In Transition

Iraq In Transition

THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.