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Friday, July 30, 2004
Saddam's said to be fine, has infected prostate
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Saddam's health rumours are denied

- Gulf Daily News

Deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is in fine health, though he refuses to have a biopsy to verify that he is cancer free, Iraqi Human Rights Minister Bakhtiar Amin said in an interview on Al Jazeera yesterday. Saddam has been held under US detention at an undisclosed location in Iraq since his capture last December.

A spate of media reports said Saddam's health was deteriorating - or that he had died - which the US military denied yesterday. "Saddam did not have a stroke and he is not dead," 1st Sgt Steve Valley said. He did not have further information. Saddam suffers from a chronic prostate infection, but X-rays and blood tests did not show that he suffered from anything more severe than that, Amin said. Saddam, however, refused to have a biopsy to prove does not have cancer, he said.

A Jordan-based spokesman for the Red Cross, the only neutral entity with access to Saddam, said Thursday the organisation had no information about a downturn in Saddam's health. "Saddam's sickness was rumours spread by the media," Mu'in Kassis said. The Red Cross said it has visited him at least twice to check on his condition and carry messages to his family. According to Amin, Saddam has lost weight after following a diet. He spends his time reading the Quran, writing poetry and tend to a garden, Amin said.

Saddam has infected prostate

- AP

Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein suffers from a chronic prostate infection but has rebuffed suggestions that he undergo a biopsy to test him for cancer, Iraq's human rights minister said in an interview aired yesterday. A battery of other tests show Saddam is otherwise in fine health and has even shed some extra weight while in US detention, Bakhtiar Amin told Al-Jazeera television in an interview yesterday.

Saddam and other detainees undergo daily medical tests, Amin said. An MRI, CT scan and blood tests came back negative for cancer, but officials had also wanted to perform a biopsy "to be 100 per cent sure... but he refused," Amin said. Chronic prostate infections are common, occurring in about 35 per cent of all men over 50, but are not linked to cancer. However, routine screening for prostate cancer, especially among older men, is becoming more common.

Since his capture last December, Saddam has been held in US detention at an undisclosed location as he awaits trial on broad charges of killing rivals, gassing Kurds, invading Kuwait and suppressing uprisings. Foreign and local media have reported that his health was deteriorating - which the US military denied yesterday.

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