Date: 23 August 2006
BAGHDAD, Aug 23, 2006 (AFP) - A former Kurdish separatist guerrilla told
Wednesday of he found the huddled corpses of his brother and nephew dead
after a poison gas attack, on the third day of Saddam Hussein's trial for
"I found my brother Saleh Abdullah and his son Shabaan ... They were hugging
and they were dead," Musa Abdullah Musa told the Iraqi High Tribunal,
telling how Iraqi jets fired chemical weapons at Iqmala village on April 25,
"I can't describe the feeling which I felt with my eyes and heart. We
screamed and we went to the neighbours asking for help," he said.
Saddam and six co-defendants are being tried for their part in the Anfal
campaign, in which prosecutors allege 182,000 Kurds were massacred in a bid
to ethnically cleanse a swathe of northern Iraq.
"People were certain they were going to die because the government had no
mercy," Musa said, recounting how he had begun frantically searching for his
relatives, ordering them to press damp cloths to their faces.
He ran past birds and chickens which lay dead after the gas attack. Animals
lay bleeding as panicked villagers washed their faces with milk to ease the
pain, the court heard.
The presence of a "peshmerga" fighter among the prosecution witnesses may
help Saddam's defence team push their case that the Anfal operation was
directed against Kurdish separatist guerrillas rather than civilians.
But prosecutors have argued that the presence of Kurdish militia in some of
the 3,000 communities that are said to have been razed cannot justify the
wholesale use of chemical weapons.