The trial of Saddam Hussein and seven co-defendants on crimes against humanity will continue Dec. 5
The second session Monday, Nov. 28, heard the taped testimony of the first witness since deceased, an Iraqi intelligence officer Wadan Ismael al-Sheik. He reported that 400 people from Dujail village had been detained after the failed assassination attempt on Saddam’s life and taken to Abu Ghraib prison.
All eight witnesses, who could face execution if convicted, deny charges of murder and torture.
Saddam’s first words as he entered the court were complaints he had to climb four flights of stairs handcuffed because the elevator was broken, and was escorted by foreign guards. He was carrying a Koran, papers and pen which were taken from him. He said those papers included his notes about the judgment. The judge said he would alert the police and his papers would be returned when the time comes.
Saddam shouted, “You must order them. This is our country. They are invaders.”
Some of the defense lawyers are missing. The judges were asked to approve foreign lawyers with the defense team including former US attorney general Ramsey Clark.
The ex-ruler will testify on his behalf. Thirty-five prosecution witnesses will take the stand. They will testify behind curtains for their protection amid tight security. None of the five judges trying the case except Chief judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin, a Kurd from Suleimaniya, has been identified. Broadcasts are delayed by up to 30 minutes. The courtroom was especially-constructed in Baghdad’s Green Zone government center.
The ex-ruler and his associates face charges of murder and torture in connection with the 1982 massacre of 143 Shiites in Dujail after a failed assassination attempt against him. This is the first of the cases to be brought against them.
Former US attorney general Ramsey Clark is expected to join the defense team.
debkafile adds he was fired by Saddam’s family earlier this year at the insistence of his Iraqi counsel
Since Saddam’s trial was adjourned six weeks ago, two defense lawyers were murdered in Baghdad, there have been threats against witnesses, and 8 people were arrested in N. Iraqi Kirkuk Sunday for an alleged plot to assassinate judge Raed Juhi. He was the only judge preparing the case against Saddam Hussein to be shown in public.