BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi security forces captured Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan (search), Saddam Hussein's half brother and former adviser who was suspected of financing insurgents after U.S. troops ousted the former dictator, the government said Sunday.
In a statement, the Prime Minister's office said the arrest "shows the determination of the Iraqi government to chase and detain all criminals who carried out massacres and whose hands are stained with the blood of the Iraqi people, then bring them to justice to face the right punishment."
Al-Hassan is No. 36 on the list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis released by U.S. authorities after troops invaded Iraq in March 2003, and one of only 12 remaining at large. He is also suspected of financing insurgents in the post-Saddam era, and Washington had put a $1 million bounty on his head.
The government statement said al-Hassan had "killed and tortured Iraqi people." It also said he had "participated effectively in planning, supervising, and carrying out many terrorist acts in Iraq."
Officials in interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's office, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed al-Hassan's capture but gave no details on where it took place or when.
Capt. Ahmed Ismael, an intelligence officer in the Interior Ministry, said Sabawi was detained early Sunday.
It was also not immediately known whether U.S. troops had played any role in the arrest. In Baghdad, the U.S. military had no immediate comment.
Under Saddam, al-Hassan served as head of the feared General Security Directorate (search), which was responsible for internal security, especially cracking down on political parties that opposed Saddam. Al-Hassan had been accused of torturing and killing political opponents when was head of the body.
He later became a presidential adviser, the last post he held in the former regime.
Besides the list of the 55 most wanted, al-Hassan is among the 29 most-wanted supporters of insurgent groups in Iraq, according to U.S. Central Command (search).
On Dec. 28, Qassem Dawoud, Iraq's national security adviser, claimed that al-Hassan had taken refuge in Syria sometime after the U.S. invasion in 2003, according to remarks published in Kuwait's Al-Rai Al-Aam daily. From there, he was supporting insurgents in Iraq, Dawoud said.
Saddam's two other half brothers, Barzan and Watban, were captured in April 2003 and are expected to stand trial along with Saddam at the Iraqi Special Tribunal. Both appeared before the special court in Baghdad with Saddam and a handful of others to hear preliminary accusations against them.