Saddam Hussein was the infamous President of Iraq from 1979 to 2003 until US military apprehended him. In 2006, he faced trial for crimes against humanity and was sentenced to death. Hussein’s eldest son, Uday Hussein, reportedly had a falling out with his father, despite Uday’s position as successor to the Hussein regime. The eldest son was internationally known for his unstable personality and numerous criminal allegations – which included assaults against women, the use of archaic forms of punishment, and fatal attacks on family members and enemies alike. Uday and his brother Qusay died in 2003 when special operations Task Force 20, in conjunction with the US Army, besieged a hideout in Mosul, Iraq.
The 2011 drama The Devil’s Double presents an adaptation of Latif Yahia’s 1994 true crime novel of the same name. Yahia, a former classmate of Uday, describes how he was enlisted to function as Uday’s body double – a dangerous position that required he make public appearances as Uday. Although some journalists reject the former soldier’s claim, Yahia went on to publish several more texts about his experiences in Hussein-ruled Iraq. Uday is portrayed as a blood-thirsty tyrant with no regard for human life – and as a man and ruler whom the people of Iraq greatly feared. The accounts also detail how Uday was fixated on his appearance, a behavior which caused the public to view him as both dangerous and eccentric.
He Was Known For Having Women Abducted
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In his novel The Devil’s Double, Latif Yahia depicts how bodyguards seized women for Uday Hussein’s personal use. He maintains how the guards often assaulted the abductees as well. If Uday laid eyes on a woman he desired, he’d reportedly order his henchmen to kidnap her right off the streets and take her to his private chambers.
If the women tried to report the incident, the guards would terminate them at their boss’s command. Uday’s infamous legacy includes attacks on women, regardless of age or consent.
Uday Would Crash Weddings And Assault The Brides
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Uday attended a wedding at Baghdad’s Hunting Club in the late 1990s without an invitation. Reportedly, right after Uday left the hall, the bride vanished. Uday’s bodyguards blocked the doors, and the groom pulled out his pistol. He died from a self-imposed gunshot.
Uday abducted another bride in 2003. He had the 18-year-old forcefully brought to one of his guardhouses. A maid witnessed Uday’s man rip the woman’s dress off and lock her up. After Uday arrived, the woman’s cries reportedly became screams. The maid was later summoned to clean up the room. A bodyguard threatened her to silence: “Don’t say anything about what you see, or you and your family will be finished.”
Uday Would Harm Athletes Who Didn’t Meet His Standards
When Uday served as the head of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, he had athletes who didn’t meet his performance standards locked up and beaten. Soccer players were caned on the soles of their feet and instructed to kick a concrete ball. Uday reportedly incited such punishments when the team didn’t make it to the 1994 FIFA World Cup finals.
After Uday’s death, a member of the Iraqi national soccer team revealed the extent of Uday’s abuse. Habib Jaafer maintained Uday employed tactics of humiliation, such as shaving the men’s heads or spitting on them, in addition to the physical abuse of beatings and electric shocks.
He Drilled Through A Man’s Head
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The uprising against Saddam after the first Gulf War was not without consequences. According to Yahia, Uday paid a visit to the Shia prisoners and had half of them eradicated. Then, he told one prisoner that he wouldn’t die as quickly. Uday reportedly pulled out a drill and plunged it into the man’s skull.
The remaining prisoners were left in their cells with the dead as a form of psychological torture. Those who survived were released only to spread the word of what they witnessed to scare other Iraqis and prevent future uprisings.
He Even Went After Friends And Family
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According to those who witnessed Uday’s actions, the heir behaved violently and erratically. Reportedly, he had a habit of snapping: he would beat, shoot, and even eliminate people on a whim. In 1988, he once fatally attacked his father’s bodyguard with a carving knife. In another instance, Uday shot one of his uncles in the leg.
Saddam thought his son was too unstable and exiled him to Switzerland for a while as a sort of timeout. The Swiss kicked him back to Iraq less than a month later because he was volatile.
Slighted, He Ended A Man’s Life Over A Dance
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In 1983, Uday wanted to dance with the wife of an army officer, but the husband declined the proposition. Uday then beat the man so badly he fell unconscious and later died of his injuries. As a man known to wield power and fear, Uday did not tolerate less than full adherence to his demands.
In another incident, an army officer failed to salute Uday, so he reportedly pulled out his gun and shot the soldier without hesitation.
He Drove A Woman To Death On Her Honeymoon
According to Yahia, a couple honeymooning at the Habbaniya resort in Iraq had their celebration cut short when Uday spotted the new bride and decided he had to have her. He saw his moment, snatched the woman, and forced her into his room. Uday reportedly brutalized her.
In his book I Was Saddam’s Son, Yahia details how Uday then sauntered out of the bedroom, poured himself a brandy, and began chatting up his bodyguards. The men heard a “shrill scream.” When they burst into the bedroom, they found the woman had thrown herself off the balcony and plunged six stories to her death rather than live after the attack.
He Assaulted A Former Governor’s Teen Daughters
In 1998, at the Jadriyah Equestrian Club, 33-year-old Uday picked out a teen girl. He then had his bodyguards abduct the 14-year-old, who was the daughter of a former provincial governor. After assaulting her for three days, Uday reportedly dropped her off back at home in a new outfit.
The girl’s parents confirmed the assault with a doctor, whom Uday later threatened. The ex-governor demanded to see Saddam about it and went on public tirades about what Uday had done. This went on for months until Uday threatened to have the man taken out.
Uday then instructed the former governor to bring both his daughters, 14 and 12, to him: “Your daughters will be my girlfriends, or I’ll wipe you off the face of the earth.” At the next party, the man handed them both to Uday.
He Cut Out A Man’s Tongue To Keep Him Quiet
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Uday found out that a friend of his – who knew compromising information – was planning an unexpected move out of the country. Uday concocted a plan to make sure his associate would never be able to tell the Hussein secrets.
Uday invited him to his 37th birthday party. He then had the man apprehended by authorities and taken to prison. There, he cut off the man’s tongue.
He Forced A Man To Become His Body Double
After remembering an old classmate of his had similar features, Uday decided he knew exactly who his body double would be. Latif Yahia was working as an officer in the Iraqi Army in the 1980s when he received word that Uday Hussein wanted to see him. He reported to the palace in Baghdad and was stunned to hear the position offered to him.
At first, Yahia was told he was free to decline the offer and return to the army. Yahia turned Uday down and suddenly found himself imprisoned in a red jail cell without a toilet or room to maneuver. Reportedly, Uday told Yahia he’d be fed to wild dogs and his little sisters would be assaulted if he didn’t become the body double. Yahia accepted the job.
According to Yahia, he was then forced to study and essentially become Uday. He claimed this process also included cosmetic surgery as well as isolation from his former life. He had to master Uday’s mannerisms, eating habits, posture, and even his cruelty.
He Frequently Researched Methods Of Punishment
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In addition to perusing the Internet for posh Italian clothes and exotic vehicles, Uday enjoyed looking up various torture methods throughout history. An associate of the family remarked that the day Uday learned how to use the Internet became known as a “black day for Iraqis.”
After Uday discovered the methods, he reportedly tried them. He lopped off ears, took welder’s torches to people’s faces, and even locked people in coffins.
He Had ‘Insatiable’ Carnal Desires
According to those closest to him, Uday made a conscious decision to refrain from sexual encounters two nights a week, a habit he called “fasting.” Typically, he’d have his associates bring a lineup of gorgeous women to a club and shower them with drinks and a good time, after which they’d be presented to Uday. He’d choose one or two to remain; the rest would leave, and the chosen ones would retire to Uday’s suite with him.
They were always let go after the night with expensive gifts and sometimes money, but no single girl joined him more than a few times.
His Punishment Of Choice Was A Medieval-Style Foot-Whipping Device
When Uday discovered Internet access and began collecting methods of punishment, his favorite was the foot-whipper. An article in Time magazine describes the medieval-era falaqa as “a rod with clamps that go around the ankles so that the offender, feet in the air, can be hit on the bare soles with a stick.”
According to top officials in the Hussein administration, Uday often issued beatings for simple mistakes or errors. One official recalled Uday ordering him to carry a personal falaqa as a symbol of the constant turmoil Uday felt the employee deserved. Reportedly, Uday inflicted the falaqa on his butler for using the wrong kitchenware.
He Was Jealous Of His Brother Qusay
Uday’s jealousy reportedly knew no bounds. He allegedly demanded media personnel refrain from publishing photos of his brother Qusay. If anyone disobeyed his mandate, he was known to react violently. Uday also allegedly claimed he should be able to have free reign over any women he deemed beautiful – especially when they’d already been intimate with his brother.
According to Time, a business associate of Uday maintained the jealous older brother would then brand the women with a “U,” signifying his ownership.
He Micromanaged The Weight Of His Staff
Reportedly, a friend of the Hussein family admitted both Saddam and Uday had each member of their staff weighed. These measures were conducted to prevent theft, and the Husseins assumed the employees were stealing if they were amassing pounds.
As punishment, Uday allegedly sent the staff suspected of using unaccounted funds to purchase food to a “discipline” facility
He Indulged In Extreme Vanity
No one was allowed to wear the same clothing as Uday. When he saw someone wearing something he had, he reportedly ordered them to never wear the item again. He demanded individuality and proudly displayed his luxurious collection of shoes and accessories, including cologne.
He was particular about his looks, spending his lavish wealth on everything from facial creams to beard trimmers.
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