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The U.S. military has denied that ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is on a hunger strike but Iraqi lawyer Badiaa Aref says Hussein and 11 senior leaders of his regime were on a hunger strike to protest against ill treatment.

The U.S. military has denied that ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is on a hunger strike.

Iraqi lawyer Badiaa Aref says Hussein and 11 senior leaders of his regime were on a hunger strike to protest against ill treatment.

However a spokesman for the U.S. military Lt.-Col. Barry Johnson. says that Saddam has eaten in the past day.

Saddam, who was captured by U.S. forces last December, faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

But if the Americans believed the capture of Saddam would pacify Iraq, they appear to have been wrong. A year after Saddam’s capture, Iraq is every bit as dangerous for American soldiers as it was before. At least 659 American soldiers have been killed by insurgents in the past 12 months.

“We know there is popular support for the insurgents in that 60 per cent, or more, of Iraqis view the Americans as occupiers, not liberators,” said Charles Pena a defence analyst at Washington’s Cato Institute.

Saddam, meanwhile, is kept in isolation, as are his former deputies. They have, technically, been transferred to Iraqi jurisdiction, but the U.S. remains the jailer and it would seem Washington is in no hurry for a trial.

” It poses enormous, if not insurmountable obstacles to conducting a trial,” said Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch.

“Imagine the security risks not just for the judges, for the prosecutors, court personnel, but also for witnesses coming to court for or against Saddam Hussein.”

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.

One of the authors claiming Dan Brown’s bestseller The Da Vinci Code copied his ideas has admitted he exaggerated his case in an interview with a journalist.