German man offers EUR 9,800for Saddam statue leg

9th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

9 November 2004 , OBERHAUSEN - Authorities in Germany on Tuesday ordered the confiscation of an internet auction item advertised as the bronze lower left leg of the statue of Saddam Hussein toppled in the heart of Baghdad last year as millions of TV viewers watched. Investigators wanted to determine the authenticity of the item, a 170 cm cast bronze leg from mid-thigh downward and weighing 600 kilos, that had been posted on a German internet auction website. They questioned the owner, identified only as a

9 November 2004 

OBERHAUSEN - Authorities in Germany on Tuesday ordered the confiscation of an internet auction item advertised as the bronze lower left leg of the statue of Saddam Hussein toppled in the heart of Baghdad last year as millions of TV viewers watched.

Investigators wanted to determine the authenticity of the item, a 170 cm cast bronze leg from mid-thigh downward and weighing 600 kilos, that had been posted on a German internet auction website.

They questioned the owner, identified only as a Duisburg resident, to determine whether he had a valid bill of sale and import-duty documents to back up his claim that the item had been shipped to him from occupied Iraq via the German port of Bremerhaven.

Pending the investigation, the Azubo.de internet auction house said it would be unable to finalise the auction, which expired at midnight Monday night.

The winner was identified as a 22-year-old man from Oberhausen, Germany, who put in a top bid of EUR 9,800.

The seller claimed the leg to have been all that was left standing on the plinth at al-Ferdaous Square in Baghdad when US forces pulled down the statue on 9 April 2003, to the cheers of a crowd of Baghdad residents.

The owner, identified by the German-based Azubo.de internet auction site only as Paul911, claimed to have obtained the artefact from "contacts" after Allied forces removed it from the plinth in cleanup activities after the statue was pulled down.

Pictures accompanying the auction offer showed the lower part of a bronze leg set on what appeared to be a cement base in front of a plaque bearing the inscription "Saddam Hussein Statue, Al-Ferdaous, Baghdad, 9 April 2003".

Also on view were close-ups from news photographs showing the statue being pulled down, leaving the lower left leg lying atop the plinth.

Millions of international TV viewers watched last year as the 12-metre-tall statue was pulled down.

US Marines briefly covered Saddam's head with an American flag, like a hood. But they removed it and hung the black-red-and-white Iraqi flag from his neck before they fixed a cable to the statue and pulled it down with the winch of a Marine tank recovery vehicle.

Crowds of Iraqis cheered at the toppling of the statue, which depicted the Iraqi president in civilian clothes, his right arm raised high in greeting to his people.

The crowd pelted it with shoes and slippers - a gross insult in the Arab world - while a column of US armour sat in the al-Ferdaous (Paradise) Square, a large roundabout ringed with columns in front of the blue-domed Shahid Mosque.

After the statue came down the crowd dragged the head through the streets.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article