A FORMER Huddersfield student has been jailed in America for environmental contamination.

Iraqi-born Dr Gazi George let millions of gallons of untreated waste flood into Michigan's sewer system and allowed dangerous waste to be buried in landfill.

The authorities said the episode was one of the area's worst ever.

George, 54, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and fined $60,000 (over £31,000).

The father-of-four, who was a nuclear scientist for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the 1970s, hit the headlines in the Examiner and internationally during the 2003 war with Iraq.

He told of how he fled Saddam's henchmen and spent years dodging death threats. He urged the British public to support the war.

George studied at Huddersfield Polytechnic in the 1970s.

At his trial in the USA his request for probation was thrown out by District Judge Marianne Battani.

She said: "What about all of the people who used that water? What about our community?

"What happens when all that hazardous waste seeps into the environment?"

George, of Oakland Township, was vice-president of a commercial waste-treatment facility in Detroit.

The authorities said he was responsible for employees pouring millions of gallons of untreated liquid waste into the Detroit sewer system and for the burial of thousands of tons of untreated, dangerous waste in a tip for non-hazardous waste in Wayne County from 1997 to 1999.

They said George tried to cover up by using clean water to dilute the liquid waste dumped into the sewer, tampering with city pollution monitoring equipment and filing false water quality reports.

The prosecution said it could take years before the environmental impact of George's conduct was known.

The violations came to light after frustrated employees told the authorities.

The FBI and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Environmental Protection Agency raided the facility in 1999.

The company's owner, US Liquids of Detroit, pleaded guilty to federal violations in November, 2002, and was fined $5.5 million (£2.861m).

In August, 2003, George and his operations manager, Donald Roeser, 48, formerly of Belleville, were indicted for violating the federal Clean Water and Resource Conservation and Recovery Acts.

Both pleaded guilty in deals with the government.

Roeser, who co-operated with investigators, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and fined $60,000 in December.

Although George did not co-operate, he and his lawyer, Thomas Cranmer, urged Judge Battani for leniency because of George's extensive community service.

Mr Cranmer said George fled Iraq in the early 1980s, so Saddam Hussein could not use his skills to develop weapons and torture prisoners.

Mr Cranmer said that since the September 11 terror attacks, George had devoted his time to training emergency workers how to prevent and respond to radiological, biological and chemical terrorism.

He also provided the FBI with information about the war in Iraq.

George told the judge: "I have paid dearly for my mistakes" and spoke of his loss of reputation and the destruction of his career.

"I've been in a psychological prison for the past 66 months," he added.