A former Iraqi army officer, who once posed as a body-double for Saddam Hussein's elder son, fears deportation to his homeland after being refused citizenship in Ireland.

Latif Yahia, 42, who claims to have survived three attempts on his life by Iraqi agents, has been married to an Irish woman - Karen, 36 - for seven years. The couple have a five-year-old daughter, Dina.

Mr Yahia, a former captain in the Iraqi forces, is now trying to find a country which would offer him and his family a safe haven.

His 67-year-old mother, Yahia, and his brother's two children, Latif, nine, and Chimin, 13, who live with them in Daingean, County Offaly, are still awaiting the results of their application for asylum in Ireland.

But Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowall has told Mr Yahia he has decided not to grant a certificate of naturalisation and that he has no right to appeal.

Mr Yahia, who runs a detective agency, is planning to take the case to the European courts to prevent his family, which also includes children from his wife's previous relationship, from being forced to move from Ireland.

Yesterday Mr Yahia, who as Uday Hussein's body double witnessed the horror of Saddam's Iraq and has written about his life in two books, I Was Saddam's Son and The Devil's Double, told The Herald: "Fifteen years I have been out of Iraq. I have no nationality. I and my wife have no country to go to. I am in limbo and just want a normal life.

"All I want is a country to live in where I can live like a human and it can be Scotland, Africa, anywhere in the world."