Middle East

Saddam Hussein kept torture chamber in basement of Iraqi mission in NYC

In this Dec. 6, 2006 file photo, former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein sits in court in Baghdad, Iraq, during the "Anfal" trial against him

In this Dec. 6, 2006 file photo, former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein sits in court in Baghdad, Iraq, during the "Anfal" trial against him  (AP Photo/Chris Hondros, Pool, File)

The Mission of Iraq, which sits on a wealthy Upper East Side block near Central Park, has a dark secret: it’s basement was used as a jail equipped for torture under Saddam Hussein’s regime, The Post has learned.

When he rose to power in 1979, the despot had the terrifying “detention room” installed inside the five-story building at 14 East 79th Street — right across from billionaire former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s home, according to two Iraqi officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Saddam’s henchmen – known as Mukhabarat agents — frequently imprisoned local Iraqis in the basement for up to 15 days at a time, using them as leverage to get their relatives back in the homeland to surrender and cooperate with the tyrannical government, the officials said.

“It was a dark room. The doors were reinforced in a way that nobody could break in or out. You didn’t need to sound proof it,” one official said. The other official added, “You’re not going to hear someone screaming down there.”

The prison chamber was similar to detention rooms in Iraqi embassies around the world, including Eastern Europe and Arab countries, where evidence of torture was uncovered, the officials said.

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