AMMAN (Reuters) – Jordan said on Monday Saddam Hussein’s eldest daughter Raghd and her children were guests of the royal family and did not engage in any political activities.
Iraq on Sunday put Raghd on the 41 “most wanted” list, along with her mother Sajida and top Baathists and al Qaeda leaders. She was accused of using millions stolen by the former Iraqi leader to finance Sunni insurgents.
Prime Minister Marouf Bakheet was quoted in local papers as saying Raghd, who had been granted asylum by King Abdullah in 2003 after she fled with her sister to Jordan after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, was living in Jordan for “humanitarian reasons.”
“She does not engage in any political or media activities. Mrs. Raghd Saddam and her children are guests of the Hashemites,” Bakheet said.
A palace official said the asylum offer by the pro-Western monarch was a traditional gesture of Arab hospitality.
Raghd has taken a leading role in organizing her father’s legal defense in his trial for crimes against humanity.
But officials say Raghd had abided by a request not to use Jordan as a platform to make political statements to the media.
Iraq’s National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, who disclosed the list in a televised news conference, declined to say if arrest warrants had been issued for Raghd and her mother but said Interpol had received the list.
According to a Qatari official who declined to be named, Saddam’s wife Sajida is currently living in Doha although the Qatari government, which has hosted several controversial figures in the past, has made no official comment.
Jordan confirmed it had not received any formal request but stressed that any request had to be based on legal grounds. It said Amman reserved the right to take a decision that was “in its national interests.”
Rubaie later told the BBC no formal request had been made for her extradition.
Some relatives of leaders of Iraq’s former ruling Baath party have also found refuge in Amman but are kept under close observation by the country’s powerful intelligence body.