Two female scientists, Rihab Taha, microbiologist, and Huda Ammash, microbial genetic engineer, were released on Monday, Dec. 19, after over 2 and 1/2 years of investigation, following their arrest in Baghdad, Iraq. This was part of the release of 24 former top officials in Saddam Hussein's rule.
Rihab Taha ("Dr. Germ") is an ex-director of the bacterial and biological warfare programme, in the Al Hakam research lab, under Saddam Hussein's rule, having led scientific experiments on the possible use of anthrax and plague, producing germ warfare agents like anthrax and botulinum. Rihab Taha's husband, Amir Muhammed Rasheed, was the head of Iraqian military industries until 1995.
Huda Ammash (Huda Salih Mehdi Ammash, aka "Mrs. Anthrax"), was a key figure in the 90s for Iraq's biological warfare production, being head of Iraqi army biological laboratories, after being Nasser Hindawi's protege for several years. Huda Ammash was also a political figure as she was the first woman appointed to Iraq's Baath Party command.
Iraqi Lawyer Badee Izzat Aref:
"The release was an American-Iraqi decision and in line with an Iraqi government ruling made in December 2004, but hasn't been enforced until after the elections in an attempt to ease the political pressure in Iraq."
"Because of security reasons, some of them want to leave the country; some have already left Iraq today."
Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said eight people were released on Saturday as they were no longer a security threat and no charges would be filed against them, but there was no disclosure on any of the names, officially. Unofficially, besides Rihab Taha and Huda Ammash, Hossam Mohammed Amin and Aseel Tabra are also believed to have been freed recently.
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