Saddam’s favourite musician wins asylum appeal

The musician said he would be assassinated by Americans or anti-Hussein forces if he were sent home.

Melbourne: A musician who performed at parties hosted by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been recommended for asylum in Australia.

The man has won his case before the Refugees Review Tribunal, reports said.

He informed the tribunal that he would be assassinated by Americans or anti-Hussein forces if he were sent home.

The man, who has not been named, gave an impromptu concert to the tribunal last month to support his appeal.

"He is a professional musician," the tribunal concluded.

He arrived in Australia last August on an entertainment visa and then applied for asylum.

"As an artist, I was obliged to attend the parties and functions of Uday Saddam Hussein in addition to the parties of his father (Saddam)," he told Australian authorities adding, "Those evenings and functions became a room for sarcasm, derision and fun-making wherein we watch the leader Saddam Hussein and his son Uday binge in saucy and extravagant parties".

Claiming he celebrated Saddam`s downfall, the refugee admitted to being a member of the Baath Party since 1979.

He became famous with the party`s backing. He told Australian authorities that he "was required to compose music to lyrics of political songs for which he would not be paid".

Since Saddam was captured and executed in 2006, the musician claims he has become a wanted man in Iraq.

Immigration officials said "there was no real chance of persecution" in Iraq.

The refugee tribunal admitted it had concerns about the man`s claim, but overturned the decision and recommended a protection visa.

The final decision now rests with Australia`s Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

PTI

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