BAGHDAD (Reuters) -Iraqi security forces have arrested a nephew of toppled president Saddam Hussein in the northern city of Tikirt on suspicion of financing insurgents, national security adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie said on Thursday.
Yasser Sabawi was arrested on Wednesday as residents of Tikrit — Saddam”s hometown — protested to mark the beginning of the ousted president”s trial on charges of crimes against humanity, Rubaie told Reuters.
"He was seen distributing money to incite violence," Rubaie said.
Rubaie told Al Arabiya television Sabawi was suspected of funneling money to Sunni Arab insurgents who have a staged a relentless series of attacks targeting both civilians and the Baghdad”s U.S.-backed government.
"He is one of the people who fund terrorism and we believe there is strong evidence that he is one of the channels that brings in funds used to finance the terrorist operations in the north and the northeast of the country," he said.
Sabawi is one of the sons of Saddam”s half brother and former presidential adviser Sabawi Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti.
Up to a hundred people took to the streets of Tikrit on Wednesday chanting support for Saddam, who went on trial in Baghdad and who still commands loyalty among some Sunni Arabs who benefited under his rule.
In September, an Iraqi court sentenced another one of Sabawi”s sons, Ayman, to life in prison on charges of financing insurgents and possession of bombs.
Iraqi officials say Sabawi was detained in Syria earlier this year. He has been questioned by Iraqi”s Special Tribunal, which began trying Iraq”s ousted leadership on Wednesday, in connection with crimes committed against Shi”ites and Kurds.
The United States has frozen the assets of six of Saddam”s nephews, accusing them of funding insurgents that include former Baathists and Saddam supporters who want to topple Iraq”s Shi”ite and Kurdish-led government.