Forced to Be the 'Devil's Double': The Horrifying Job of 'Being' Saddam's Son

Devil's DoubleLiving in the lap of luxury in a plush apartment with gourmet food, designer suits, top of the line watches and as many pliant women as you desire, all provided gratis at any hour of the day or night, doesn't sound like such a bad gig, does it? But when the price for all this involves standing idly by while rape, murder and torture are being committed, the perspective changes drastically.

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Watching those crimes and worse still were what was required of Latif Yahia, who was coerced into serving as the body double and "brother" of Uday Hussein, son of Saddam Hussein, in Baghdad in the late '80s. Many considered Uday to be a true psychopath in the worst sense of the word, and Latif says he earned that twisted reputation.

"From 1987 until late 1991, I was the Double for Uday Saddam Hussein," explains Latif. "It was not something that I applied for, nor was it something that I wished to be. Had I not succumbed to his demands, I would not have been the only member of my family to feel his wrath."

At the age of 15, Yahia and Uday had been classmates, and many had commented on their physical likeness. Uday remembered this, and when the time came that he needed a body double like his father, he compelled Yahia to serve him.


Conscripted Into Hell

So how did a nice, educated Iraqi soldier of Kurdish descent, who wanted nothing more than to follow his father's successful footsteps in the appliance business, ever consent to become involved in such a nightmare? It was made abundantly clear to him that the men in his family would be thrown in prison and beaten, and his sisters would be raped and tortured if he didn't cooperate. Latif himself had to be thrown in solitary confinement and beaten before he consented to participate.

Latif's story is currently being brought to light in the new Lionsgate film, "The Devil's Double." Dominic Cooper, whom you might remember as the hopeful young fiance in "Mama Mia" and a handsome, vacuous playboy in "An Education," plays both Latif and Uday. How does Yahia feel about seeing such a grueling part of his life portrayed on film?

He says the experience was both cathartic and overwhelming. "In a way, something was relieved out of me," he confides. "The sadness that I had before -- my story is being told and it's a release."


Unmentionable Atrocities

The film depicts Latif's disgust and indignation at Uday's penchant for drugs, violence and women, knowing that the wrong move could put him and his family in the hospital or in their graves. He was forced to undergo painful plastic surgery, and diction and body coaching, so that he could serve as a double to Uday in public and in private when there was risk, or when Uday simply preferred to party rather than attend political functions. Latif "took bullets" both for and from Uday, and was forced to stand by while Uday defiled school girls, tortured Olympic athletes for failing to win and committed numerous other unspeakable crimes.

Uday's actions were so evil and perverse, in fact, that Cooper had a hard time playing him -- there wasn't anything about the character that he could even remotely relate to. "I just despised the man," he said. "There was nothing that I could see in him that I could latch onto and like. It was beyond my capabilities to get into the mindset of a man who did the things he did."


Finally Breaking Free

You can imagine how hard it would be to leave a job like this. Latif was under constant surveillance, and was beaten and imprisoned when he displeased Uday. He was finally able to flee to the north, where Kurdish rebels first imprisoned him because they thought he was Uday. When Latif was able to convinced them of his true identity, he was released and granted asylum in Austria in 1992.

Although Uday was crippled in an assassination attempt in 1996, and eventually killed by an American task force in 2003, Latif is still hesitant to reveal his own whereabouts. He appears to have made his way to Ireland where he lives with his family. Although he has a PhD in International Law and is an author, blogger and now film consultant, he will forever be defined by the days he spent in hell as the "Devil's Double."


Watch the Cinematic Re-enactment of Latif's Transformation into Uday


Next: Whole Foods Employee Gives It His All in 'I Quit' E-Mail



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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Editor

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want.  Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets.  Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.

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October 11 2011 at 5:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
uberwill

He should have killed Uday when he had the chance. He would have saved so many people from so much pain.

August 17 2011 at 9:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
buddyman412

wasn't he like the king of diamonds or something in that terrorist deck of cards?

August 01 2011 at 3:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mikie walker

evel is evel. you cant double up

August 01 2011 at 12:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ordobtrebla

I say we accidently drop nukes on Afganistan... Iran... Iraq... Syria ...Lebanon...Yemen...
Then just tell the world, from now on we are going to be in charge...end of story...

August 01 2011 at 12:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ordobtrebla's comment
mavx4

yes... do that....
because every single person in those countries are pure evil...
including those 3 years old kids and the new born babies....
your sense of justice is simply awesome

August 01 2011 at 1:15 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
nliinc

Check out more on Uday Hussein this Saturday in a play called "World Class Troublemakers." If you're in NYC this weekend, it runs at 8pm in the Times Square Art Center, 300 W. 43rd Street, #300 (between 8th & 9th Avenues). Lohrasp Kansara, an actor & professional DJ (aka "DJL") who recently guest starred in "Blue Bloods," wrote and stars in this show as Uday. You see this, you won't forget it!

August 01 2011 at 12:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
noodles865

can anyone tell me what obama has to do with this or jew haters if you people did your homework or read any real accounts of this sick family you would know these kinds of stories are very true.when we first went in we were going in as liberators trying to save the people it went to crap from outsiders coming in and we paid for as they did before we went in-god we are turnining into a country of nut jobs -i went there for you nasty people -im an ass

July 31 2011 at 11:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Hank

WATERBOARD the sucker and fine the real truth about everything. (it works- and our gov't has told the world how its done.

July 31 2011 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hank's comment
sefsf

the truth about what , *****?

August 01 2011 at 3:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff

Didn't Uday catch a bullet in the head early in the Iraq war? He was a bad man. How is this news?

July 31 2011 at 9:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zuk roo Zowee

Wow that looks like it might jsut work dude.

www.privacy-tools.no.tc

July 31 2011 at 8:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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