LATIF YAHIA - "The Devil's Double" in person.
Few people on the planet have had such an extraordinary life as Dr. Latif Yahia and still be alive to tell the tale.
Latif was born in 14th of Jun 1964, the son of a wealthy Iraqi businessman. He attended the most exclusive school in Baghdad where another pupil was Uday Saddam Hussein, son of the future President. Everyone noticed the boys bore an uncanny resemblance to each other.
Whilst Latif was a young army officer fighting in the Iran/Iraq war, he was summoned to a presidential palace and informed by Uday that he wanted Latif to become his "fidai" or body-double.
After a spell of imprisonment and threats to his family, Latif was forced to agree. He underwent cosmetic surgery to look even more like Uday and was trained to act like him in every way.
For years, Latif represented Uday in all manner of functions and duties. He lived in a presidential palace in a life of unbelievable extravagance and luxury. But Latif also witnessed the extreme cruelty of the Saddam regime. Uday's psychotic temper, rapes, orgy parties, torture atrocities, and sadistic murders.
Latif was so psychologically disturbed at losing his own identity and by the role he was forced to play he even tried to commit suicide.
He survived eleven assassination attempts and was wounded nine times by bullets meant to assassinate Uday.
When Uday also shot him in a fit of temper, Latif fled Iraq helped by the CIA.
The CIA were grateful for Latif's insight into the regime and wanted him to be their spokesperson on Iraq. But, as his family were still in Iraq, Latif refused and moved to Austria where he hoped to live a peaceful life.
To earn an income, Latif wrote the first version of The Devil's Double revealing his time as Uday's fidai. And exposing the darkest secrets of the Saddam regime to a shocked world.
For refusing to work with them, he was covertly imprisoned for nine months by the CIA and on his release he found a bomb under his car doubtless planted on orders of Uday who was to later murder Latif's father.
For the next few years Latif traveled around Europe, surviving other assassination attempts and trying to live undisturbed under a false identity.
During this time, he amassed a fortune of $??m and lost it all when the woman he fled Iraq with emptied their joint bank account during another period of incarceration. Whilst in London in the 1990's, he was offered money and a British passport by the Saudi's if he would murder a man he had befriended who was a Saudi dissident. Also a Saudi Princess with whom he had an affair, was beheaded when she returned to Saudi Arabia to seek a divorce.
Latif eventually moved to Ireland where, after run-ins with the IRA and drug-dealers, he found himself living as a beggar on the street.
This is where he met his wife Karen who helped him rebuild his life.
He has written three books serializing his life. 'The Devil's Double' on which the feature film is based, 'The Black Hole' which relates his time pressurized by the CIA and on the run through Europe and 'Forty Shades of Conspiracy' which tells of his years in Ireland and how he was continually victimized and denied Irish citizenship despite having an Irish wife and child.
He has also written a fourth book 'The Hangman of Abu Grahib' yet to be published.
Today, Dr. Latif Yahia is now an international human rights lawyer and Campaigner, businessman and an outspoken Internet blogger commenting on developments in the Arab world, politics, justice and injustice.
Books. 1- I was Saddam's Son in German released 1994. 2- The Devil's Double released on June 5, 2003. 3- The Black Hole released on November 20, 2006.
A movie The Devil's Double directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Dominic Cooper was filmed in Malta in early 2010, and is expected to be released on July 29, 2011.