The lawyer for a Canadian citizen accused of working for Saddam Hussein's intelligence service says his client was, in fact, persecuted by Saddam.

Mouyad Mahmoud Darwish is accused of feeding information to Saddam's intelligence service while living in Maryland.

His attorney, Joseph Evans, did not address the specifics of those allegations at a detention hearing Tuesday. But Evans says Darwish and his family were mistreated by Saddam because they have Iranian ancestry.

Evans says Darwish and his family were deported to Iran after war broke out between Iraq and Iran in 1980. Darwish was eventually repatriated, forced to join the Iraqi army and sent to the front lines to fight against Iran. He fled Iraq and was granted political asylum in Canada.