NYT: Saddam Hussein ordered killing of Observer journalist, records show

Transcripts of recordings published by the New York Times reveal that Saddam Hussein personally ordered the execution of Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft, who was hanged in Iraq in 1990.

The transcript of a conversation between Iraq’s former leader and the country’s then-foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, reads:

Hussein: We will execute him during Ramadan, in Ramadan, as punishment for Margaret Thatcher.

The documents, which were seized by the US military during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, were yesterday released by the Conflict Records Research Center, a US government archive.

The case of Bazoft, an Iranian-born freelance journalist who worked for the Observer, drew worldwide attention at the time, and the British government appealed for clemency.

The Guardian has more on Bazoft and states:

It appears that even if Bazoft had had British citizenship at the time of his arrest, this would not have saved him.

The document archive reveals the conspiratorial mind-set of Hussein, according to the NY Times, and demonstrates that the Iraqi leader believed Bazoft was an “Israeli spy working for the British”.

The New York Times states:

Even in an age of WikiLeaks, such a detailed record of a foreign leader’s private ruminations is rare.

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