updated 2/26/2004 10:50:43 AM ET 2004-02-26T15:50:43

An imprisoned Saddam Hussein is in good health, the commander of U.S. forces said Thursday without offering further details on the former Iraqi leader’s confinement.

“Health is good, no issues,” Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said. “He’s in good health.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross visited Saddam in jail for the first time Saturday. The visit was arranged after Saddam was declared a prisoner of war, entitling him to certain rights under the Geneva Conventions, including visits by the international Red Cross and freedom from coercion of any kind during interrogations.

The ICRC ordinarily does not release details of such visits or the prisoner’s confinement, limiting their comments to reports to the governments holding the prisoners.

But Saddam did write a letter to his family that was to be delivered once the United States confirmed it did not contain any hidden messages to his followers.

U.S. forces captured Saddam on Dec. 13 as he hid in an underground bunker near his hometown of Tikrit.

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