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Iraq and Sports

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holy shit!

"I know what they went through," adds Haydar, who escaped from Iraq in 1998 and now lives in London. "I was tortured four times after matches. One time, after a friendly [match] against Jordan in Amman that we lost 2-0, Uday had me and three teammates taken to the prison. When we arrived, they took off our shirts, tied our feet together and pulled our knees over a bar as we lay on our backs. Then they dragged us over pavement and concrete, pulling the skin off our backs. Then they pulled us through a sandpit to get sand in our backs. Finally, they made us climb a ladder and jump into a vat of raw sewage. They wanted to get our wounds infected. The next day, and for every day we were there, they beat our feet. My punishment, because I was a star player, was 20 [lashings] per day. I asked the guard how he could ever forgive himself. He laughed and told me if he didn't do this, Uday would do it to him. Uday made us athletes an example. He believed that if people saw he was not afraid to beat a hero, that they would live in greater fear."

Ahmed Kadoim, a FIFA-recognized referee who fled Iraq in December, tells a similar tale of torture at Uday's hands after he refused to fix a soccer game last May. "I was the referee of a match between Al-Shorta and the club of the air force," Kadoim says. "I was told that Shorta should win, but I refused to fix the match. It ended at 2-2. I was taken by Uday's men to Al-Radwaniya prison, where they used hoses and a cane to beat me three times a day. My punishment was 10 beatings each time. When I was bleeding, they forced me into a pool of sewage. The guards laughed and said, 'You should have let them win.' I still am in pain nearly a year later."

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