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Former Nicaraguan president Ortega offers support to Saddam Hussein
Fri Dec 19 2003 13:59:52 ET

Managua (dpa) - Former Nicaraguan president and leftist Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega Friday offered his full support to deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, whom he said was still president of Iraq ``because he wasn't kicked out by his people but by a foreign intervention''.

``We act on principles,'' Ortega said at a news conference. ``We have shown solidarity with the people of Iraq and we continue to show solidarity with president Hussein, with whom a barbarity is being committed.''

Local press reports said Ortega, who was president of Nicaragua during the 1980s after the Sandinista rebels overthrew the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza in 1979, received generous financing from Hussein when he was in power in Iraq.

Ortega denied the reports Hussein gave him money during his trips to the Middle East.

Regarding prosecution of Hussein, Ortega said: ``This is a president who has not been kicked out by his people, and in those conditions, it is not legitimate to open judicial proceedings.''

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