Sports Illustrated, 3.24.03, Vol. 98, Issue 12
"This is my Iraq. Embarrassing Iraq embarrasses me," these are the words spoken by Iraq's head of Olympic committee and soccer federation Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein's eldest son. The war between Iran and Iraq went on for eight years, killing 100's of thousands of young Iraqis, demoralizing the youths. Saddam thought success in sports would help regain national pride and lift the spirits of Iraq. Uday was placed in power of the Olympic committee in 1984 by his father with the hopes of Iraqi sports being respectable again.
After a losing 2-0 in a friendly soccer match between Iraq and Jordan, which had no significance in World Cup standings or rankings, just a chance for teams to practice against another team, Uday took four of the star players to prison. Upon arriving at prison, these players were striped of their shirts, feet bound together with their knees drawn over their heads over a bar lying on their backs. The soccer players were then dragged over pavement and concrete, painfully pulling and ripping the skin off their backs. They were then pulled through a sandpit then made to climb a ladder and jump in a vat of raw sewage, trying to infect their wounds as much as humanly possible. The following days the prisoners feet were caned, 20 lashings a day, breaking the smaller bones and causing massive swelling, leaving victims unable to walk for some time. Asking the guards how they can possibly carry out these punishments, they simply laughed and said it would be done to them if they refused to carry the punishments out.
Following a boxing match in which an Iraqi lost and was knocked out in thefirst round, Uday and Iraqi secret service agents escorted the boxer into his office. "In sport you can win or lose. I told you to not come home if you didn't win," said Uday, "This is how you box." He then threw punc