Kurdish witness in Saddam Hussein's genocide trial shows court body burns




 
--
Boots
 
September 19th, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Kurdish witness in Saddam Hussein's genocide trial shows court body burns


Media: The Associated Press
Byline: N/A
Date: 19 September 2006

Body:


BAGHDAD, Iraq_A Kurdish security officer testifying in Saddam Hussein's
genocide trial on Tuesday showed the court body burns he allegedly received
when armies of the deposed leader attacked his northern Iraqi village in
1988.

"A squadron of planes hovered in the sky. They began bombing the area and
the bombs were two types _ some had loud explosions, while some were
somewhat silent," said Maj. Iskandar Mahmoud Abdul-Rahman, 41, as he
recounted the attack on the leadership of his Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
on March 20, 1988.

"We took the floor; white smoke covered us, it smelled awful," said the man,
who wore Western-style gray suit with a Kurdistan flag pin.

He said after several minutes, he escaped to another area where his health
worsened.

"My heart beat increased. I started to vomit. I felt dizzy. My eyes burned
and I couldn't stand on my feet," he added in Kurdish through an Arabic
translator.

The witness said he was moved to two hospitals in Iran for treatment. In the
second hospital, he said he lost consciousness for 10 days.

"The doctors were frequently giving me injections and medication, including
eye drops. They cut the burned skin with scissors. I can show the court my
scars that are still visible on my body," he said, adding that his eyesight
is still poor.

In June 1988, Abdul-Rahman said his health improved, and he was discharged
from the hospital. But doctors told him not to expose his body to the sun,
he said.

Sitting in the witness stand, Abdul-Rahman took off his blue shirt to show
his body burns. But he insisted to do so off camera. A reporter who watched
in the courtroom said there were several dark scars, roughly 20 centimeters
(8 inches) long, on his back. Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer, Khalil
al-Dulaimi, and prosecutor Munqith al-Faroon went up to take a closer look.

Tuesday's hearing was the ninth since Saddam's trial resumed Aug. 21 on
charges of committing atrocities against Kurds during the Operation Anfal
crackdown in northern Iraq in the late 1980s. The prosecution alleges some
180,000 people died in the campaign, many of them killed by poison gas.

Saddam, his cousin "Chemical" Ali al-Majid and five other co-defendants are
standing trial. All seven could face death by hanging if convicted.

Another witness, farmer Raouf Faraj Abdullah, 55, spoke of poor living
conditions he endured with his family in a detention camp in the northern
city of Irbil, which was run by Saddam's forces during the Operation Anfal.

"We stayed without food. Our condition was poor The local people of Irbil
began hurling us food over the barbed wire," said the man, who had a thick
black mustache and wore the traditional Kurdish headdress.

He said he was later moved to another camp, where he was separated from his
2-year-old son and his wife, who later gave birth in her prison cell.

"When I went to see her, I found out that my newborn baby had died," he
said.

He said 28 people were killed in attacks on his village.

"I saw them all with my own eyes," he asserted when he was cross-examined by
a defense lawyer if he saw the dead people. He also demanded compensation
for his dead son and the belongings he lost.

Saddam _ dressed in a dark suit with a white handkerchief in his chest
pocket _ sat silently, taking notes.

Tuesday's hearing also saw a fiery exchange between senior prosecutor,
Jaafar al-Moussawi, and defense lawyer Badee Izzat Aref, who demanded that
the prosecution be questioned for "deliberately misleading" the court by
presenting a witness who allegedly had a forged passport.

He was referring to a Kurdish Iraqi witness, who told the court Monday that
he sought asylum in the Netherlands where he acquired a Dutch passport in
1994. Saddam and his defense team argued that Iraqi law barred citizens from
being dual nationals and asked that the Dutchman's testimony be thrown out
because it was allegedly in violation of the law.

Al-Moussawi rejected Aref's remarks Tuesday.

"Such violations by this lawyer must be stopped," he said. The chief judge
gave Aref a "final" warning, threatening to take legal action against the
attorney.

Aref is the lawyer of Farhan Mutlaq Saleh, who headed a regional military
intelligence office during the Anfal operation.

Saddam is still waiting a verdict on Oct. 16 in the first case against him _
the nine-month-long trial over the killings of 148 Shiites in Dujail after a
1982 assassination attempt against him there. He and seven other
co-defendants could face the death penalty in that case.
 


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