Cardinal criticises treatment of Saddam

 A top Vatican official has criticised the way Saddam Hussein was treated by his US captors, saying he had been dealt with like an animal. Cardinal Renato Martino said yesterday that he had felt pity watching images of "this man destroyed" while medical staff checked his mouth "as if he were a beast". The US "could have spared us these pictures," he said. The cardinal, a leading critic of the US-led war in Iraq, told reporters: "Seeing him like this, a man in his tragedy, despite all the heavy blame he bears, I had a sense of compassion for him." The cardinal said the arrest was a "watershed" development but he hoped it would "not have... serious consequences". The Vatican has consistently opposed the attack on Iraq and the cardinal added that it would be "illusory" to hope that Saddam Hussein's capture would "repair the dramas and the damage" the war had wrought. Cardinal Martino was speaking as Italian police implemented new security arrangements at the Vatican following a warning that it could become a terror target during the Christmas season. The main road leading to the Vatican will be closed every night during the Christmas holidays as a precaution.

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