Mother urges Saddam to free son

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THE MOTHER of a Briton held in Iraq yesterday appealed to President Saddam Hussein to free him, as British and United States aircraft enforced a 'no- fly' zone over the south of the country.

Meanwhile, the wife of a second Briton jailed for seven years in Iraq met Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, and said afterwards that the Government had pledged to do everything possible to free her husband.

In Iraq, US and British pilots flew 90 sorties over an area south of the 32nd parallel on the first full day of the new policy to protect Shia dissidents from Iraqi air attack.

No Iraqi aircraft were detected in the region and the day passed without incident.

Making her appeal to President Saddam, Iris Wainwright, 61, said she feared her son Michael would receive a similar jail sentence to that passed on Paul Ride, who was accused of illegal entry to the country.

Mrs Wainwright, a widow from West Bottom, Norland, near Halifax, West Yorkshire, said she was concerned that her son, who was divorced 10 years ago and has no children, could be used as a 'human shield' while the allies operate the no-fly zone.

'Let him come home,' she appealed to the Iraqi leader. 'It is his 42nd birthday on Monday and the greatest present we could wish for would be to see him safe and sound again.'

The International Committee of the Red Cross and Russian diplomats representing Britain were yesterday trying to gain access to Mr Wainwright, who has been held in Iraq since May accused of entering the country illegally while on a cycling holiday to Australia.

In London, Julie Ride, 31, of Walthamstow, north-east London, met Mr Hurd at the Foreign Office yesterday to discuss the plight of her husband, Paul, a 33-year-old catering manager, who was arrested when he mistakenly crossed the border from Kuwait, and was jailed last week for illegally entering Iraq. The couple have a 17-month-old son.

Mr Hurd 'promised as much help as possible and Paul won't be forgotten,' Mrs Ride said.

Jets patrol skies, page 13

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