Saddam's nephew seeks asylum


A nephew of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein who is wanted by Iraq for membership of a terrorist group has claimed asylum in Austria saying he feared persecution.

A spokesman for Austria's Interior Ministry said yesterday that the 42-year-old man, who they named only as Bashar N, had been detained without identity documents on Thursday in the Austrian town of Traiskirchen, a well-known centre for asylum-seekers, along with two other people.

Bashar N has been on an Iraqi wanted list since 2006, the spokes-man said, but added that he was not under arrest. His identity was established by fingerprints.

"Asylum proceedings are now under way in Austria," the spokesman said.

"Regardless of his origin, everyone has a right to a legal process."

Bashar N said he had arrived by plane from Turkey using a false passport, which had then been taken away by the people smuggler who had helped him, according to the spokesman.

He is being held at a secret location for his own safety.