Wednesday, January 22, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 22 (UPI) — An Iraqi chicken farmer said Wednesday he would sue international arms inspectors for damages to his farm.

Sabah Anwar Muhammad told a news conference that U.N. inspectors “knocked down a fence, broke locks and took samples from the soil and trees, claiming they suspected it (the farm) was a biological site.”

U.N. inspectors are in the country seeking suspected weapons of mass destruction in line with Security Council Resolution 1441.

He said the inspectors, who first appeared at the farm Jan. 16, searched his farm twice last week and told him they would return. They asked him questions unrelated to their mission of finding weapons of mass destruction, and intimidated him, Muhammad said.

His poultry-breeding enterprise was interrupted by the international embargo imposed on Iraq since 1990 when the government of President Saddam Hussein seized Kuwait.

“Despite that the inspectors insisted on searching the place thoroughly, filming it and placing stickers on some doors,” he said.

Muhammad said at first he refused to let the inspectors search the farm as it was private property not linked to the government. But he agreed to the search at the request of the government’s National Iraqi Monitoring Department.

The inspectors accused him of changing the locks after their first visit but it was they, he said, who broke the old locks and replaced them with new ones.

Muhammad said he was outraged when the inspectors asked to search his house after searching the farm.

“I told them that they were trespassing on my privacy and that I was an Iraqi citizen in a sovereign and independent country and would only take orders from my government,” he said. He let them into the house after the Iraqi authorities asked him to do so.

“How do you think I felt seeing such unwelcome guests in my home?” Muhammad asked. “You cannot imagine the moral stress I underwent as a result of such provocative conduct.”

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