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Iraqis Ask Firm About Cloning Saddam Hussein

September 09, 1990|MICHAEL CIEPLY

Despite legends to the contrary, Walt Disney was not frozen when he died in 1966.

But Saddam Hussein may turn out to be a different story.

American Cryonics Society President Dr. Avi Ben-Abraham says representatives of the Iraqi strongman approached him two months ago to inquire about freezing samples of Hussein's semen, as well as cell tissues that might someday be used to clone a new individual--scientific progress permitting.

Ben-Abraham says he provided the Iraqis with information but didn't assist with any freezing procedure. "At the time, we would have helped them. But not now," in light of the Kuwait invasion, he maintains.

Some cryonics advocates have claimed that both publisher Malcolm Forbes and fashion designer Halston arranged before their recent deaths to have cell samples frozen for cloning purposes.

But it appears that no public figure has yet been suspended--although Ben-Abraham, who became the world's youngest medical doctor when he graduated at age 18 from Italy's Perugia University in 1976, says he has had inquiries from some famous prospects, including boxing champion Muhammed Ali.

In any case, star watchers should not expect frozen favorites to be back soon. "Patients who are frozen today probably have a hope to be revived within 50 years," predicts Ben-Abraham.

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