A restaurant owner who posted a picture of Saddam Hussein says it is a protest over human rights in his homeland, Kuwait.

Ayyad Al-Hamdan, owner of the This Is It Lebanese restaurant, in Station Road, Harrow, put up the picture in its front window, resulting in complaints from passersby and members of the public.

Speaking to the Harrow Times, Mr Al-Hamdan said: “I have not put this picture up to show support for Saddam. I have done it to raise awareness of human rights in Kuwait.

“When Saddam invaded things were bad, but when America and Britain came things got better. But after they left things got even worse than before.

“My father was in the Kuwaiti army but was told he could not stay in the country. I have done all I can to protest and raise awareness this was the only thing I could think to do.

“Some people have come in to complain and ask why I have the picture up, and it has been a chance for me to explain my protest."

There are eight levels of class in Kuwait and according to Mr Al-Hamdan he and his family were beneath all of them and not recognised by the government.

He said: “I came to this country in 1997 and since 2001 I have been protesting in the UK over human rights issues in Kuwait. People need to know what is happening there.

“There are about 200,000 people who are in a similar situation to me and are not recognised by the government.”

According to Mr Al-Hamdan there are 5,000 Kuwaitis in the UK, who faced the same persecution as he did.

Harrow Borough Council called on the owner remove the picture of the former Iraqi dictator following complaints, but Mr Hamdan said he was free to display the picture.