Saddam Hussein's nephew escaped from prison Saturday in northern Iraq, authorities said.

Ayman Sabawi, the son of Saddam's half brother Sabawi Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti, fled the prison some 45 miles west of Mosul in the afternoon with the help of another police officer, according to local police Brig. Abdul Karim al-Jubouri.

Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf confirmed the escape but declined to elaborate.

Sabawi was found guilty of illegally crossing the border from Syria and sentenced to 15 years in prison late last year by an Iraqi court.

Sabawi, who was apprehended last May by U.S. and Iraqi forces near Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, had been sentenced separately to six years in jail for possession of illegal weapons and manufacture of explosive devices but was serving the sentences consecutively.