BAGHDAD, Iraq – Saddam Hussein (search) "has the gall" to complain about the conditions of his treatment, but he is being treated with "dignity and respect," a senior U.S. military officer said Wednesday.
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt (search) told Associated Press Television News that the deposed Iraqi dictator "is being treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions."
Still, Saddam "has the gall to be complaining," Kimmitt said.
"We don't have him in one of his palaces," he said. "We don't have him in one of his luxurious apartments that he used the oil money of the people of Iraq to buy. He is being treated like any other security detainee according to the Geneva Conventions, with dignity and respect."
"This is a man who is responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of his own countrymen," he added.
The international Red Cross is pressing U.S. authorities to release three letters sent by Saddam to his family, as allowed under the Geneva Conventions (search).
Nada Doumani, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told The Associated Press that the letters were given to U.S. authorities for inspection, as is the custom.
She said that "there has been a lot of delay" in releasing the letters, but she did not have the dates they were written.
One of Saddam's daughters, Raghad Saddam Hussein, told an Arab women's magazine earlier this month that the Red Cross had delivered one letter from her father, who has been held by U.S. forces since his Dec. 13 capture. She said three lines of the six-line letter were deleted by censors.
On Tuesday, a U.S. official told reporters that the United States will transfer legal custody of Saddam and other top prisoners to Iraqi authorities as soon as Iraqi courts issue the necessary warrants.
But U.S. forces won't let go of Saddam, even after Iraq regains its sovereignty next week, because it doesn't have a prison strong enough to hold him, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.