Iraq Seeks Return of Saddam's Bronze Butt

British soldier's cheeky keepsake is 'cultural property,' Iraq says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2012 2:31 AM CST
Updated Jan 20, 2012 6:31 AM CST
Former British SAS soldier Nigel Ely poses for pictures with a bronze buttock from a statue of Saddam Hussein.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Iraq is fighting for the return of Saddam Hussein's giant bronze buttock. The 2-foot cheek was brought back to Britain by former special-forces solder Nigel Ely, who, with the help of US Marines, pried it off a toppled statue soon after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. Iraq's government says the buttock counts as "illegally removed Iraqi cultural property."

Ely says he has turned Saddam's butt into a piece of art that he wants to sell to raise money for veterans' charities in the US and UK. The chief of a war art relic company has been questioned by police for attempting to help Ely sell the piece, the BBC reports. "This is like having a chunk of the Berlin Wall—it's part of history but it's not cultural property," Ely says.

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