When he rose to power in 1979, the despot had the terrifying “detention room” installed inside the five-story building at 14 E. 79th St. — right across from billionaire former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s home, according to two Iraqi officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Saddam’s henchmen — known as Mukhabarat agents — frequently imprisoned local Iraqis in the basement for up to 15 days at a time, using them as leverage to get their relatives back in the homeland to surrender and cooperate with the tyrannical government, the officials said.
“It was a dark room. The doors were reinforced in a way that nobody could break in or out. You didn’t need to soundproof it,” one official said. The other official added, “You’re not going to hear someone screaming down there.”
The prison chamber was similar to detention rooms in Iraqi embassies around the world, including Eastern Europe and Arab countries, where evidence of torture was uncovered, the officials said.