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Photo: OSCE

Music and lyrics, dancing to his own tune

John Packer
Journal25 October 2011

‘But can it be true?’, Max asked out loud to himself. It was September 1991 and we had just received at the Palais des Nations in Geneva the first personal testimony of an alleged victim of serious human rights violations committed by

the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein. Dr Hussein Shahristani, Iraq’s leading nuclear physicist (and now long-serving Minister of Oil – the only person in the country broadly trusted for that job), had shown us his hand and explained Sotto

voce how an automatic drill had been used to penetrate it in an effort by Saddam’s henchmen to persuade Dr Shahristani to build a nuclear bomb. For his refusal, he claimed, he endured ten years of solitary confinement and various tortures in the infamous Abu Ghraib Prison.

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