Saddam Hussein genocide trial adjourned until Oct. 9




 
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Saddam Hussein genocide trial adjourned until Oct. 9
 
September 26th, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Saddam Hussein genocide trial adjourned until Oct. 9


Saddam Hussein genocide trial adjourned until Oct. 9
Media: The Associated Press
Byline: By
Date: 26 September 2006


BAGHDAD, Iraq_Saddam Hussein's genocide trial was adjourned on Tuesday until
October 9 to allow defendants to contact their lawyers or appoint new ones.

The adjournement was called by the chief judge after the trial resumed
without the ex-president and his six co-defendants present in the courtroom.
They had been expelled earlier by the judge following a shouting match.

A total of seven witnesses had been heard by the time the trial was
adjourned.

Earlier, the trial resumed without the ex-president and his six
co-defendants present in the courtroom, after a brief recess forced by a
shouting match that led the judge to throw them out of the session.

Saddam and one of defendants were ejected from the courtroom earlier in the
session, forcing the recess. All seven defendants argued loudly with the
chief judge, Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, who first removed Saddam from the
court, then his former defense minister, Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tai.

An official close to the court said later al-Khalifa also threw out the
remaining five defendants before the recess.

"They cannot come back into today's session," added the official on
condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to make statements to
the press.

The outburst began when Saddam refused to remain silent after repeated
requests to do so by the judge. Clutching his Quran, Saddam tried to make a
statement, interrupting the prosecution's questioning of a witness.

"You are a defendant and I'm the judge," al-Khalifa said, telling Saddam to
sit down. A defiant Saddam refused and continued speaking even though the
judge shut off court microphones.

Saddam's six co-defendants then began a shouting match.

"Shut up, no one may speak ...," al-Khalifa shouted, pointing his finger at
the defendant.

"The court decided to eject Saddam Hussein from the courtroom," al-Khalifa
added.

Saddam left with a smile.

It was the second time in as many days that Saddam was ejected from the
courtroom. Al-Khalifa acted after giving the deposed leader a stern warning
to behave or be removed from court.

The other defendants stood up in protest and demanded to leave, but the
judge refused.

Al-Tai was the most vocal, shouting insults at al-Khalifa and demanding he
be able to leave as well.

The judge sharply ordered the bailiffs to ensure that the remaining
defendants took their seats.

"I'm not sitting down," al-Tai shouted, pointing at the judge in a
belligerent way. "I served in the army for 44 years and no one dared to
shout at me. We are polite and well behaved."

Al-Khalifa growled: "You won't leave, but you can remain standing, if you
wish."

But an enraged al-Tai kept yelling at the judge, who responded: "Don't raise
your voice at me, you are a defendant."

"We decided to eject Sultan Hashim from the courtroom," al-Khalifa yelled.

But al-Tai, joined by the other five-defendants, continued to address the
judge loudly, telling him "respect us."

Hussein Rashid Mohammed, a top army official under Saddam, also demanded to
leave the courtroom. "I also want to leave ... This is rude, you should be
responsible (for us leaving)."

Al-Khalifa ordered a one-hour recess and a curtain was abruptly closed on
the journalists' gallery and microphones were cut off in the courtroom.

Saddam and his six co-defendants have been on trial since Aug. 21 for their
roles in a 1987-1988 crackdown against Kurdish rebels.

The prosecution says about 180,000 people, mostly civilians, died in the
military offensive _ codenamed Operation Anfal _ which allegedly included
the use of chemical weapons. The defendants could face the death penalty if
convicted.

In an earlier exchange Tuesday, al-Khalifa warned Saddam to respect court
procedures, saying that he would be given an opportunity to speak, but that
he would not be permitted to mock the proceedings.

"You are a defendant here. You have rights and obligations," al-Khalifa told
Saddam.

"You can defend yourself, question witnesses ... and I am ready to allow you
(to do so), but this is a court _ not a political forum," he said.

"I'm willing to allow you anything that you desire, within the law ... until
you tell me that you've got nothing more (evidence) to present," al-Khalifa
added.

He told Saddam to limit his comments to matters pertinent to the trial and
that he must rise to address the tribunal _ "not to speak while sitting
down."

"I won't tolerate that," the judge said, emphasizing that the defendants
must respect the court.

"The truth will be revealed, through the court to the whole world, if you
are innocent or guilty," he added.

But "by mocking the court and matters related to the court, you are only
harming yourself and damaging your case," al-Khalifa said.

Saddam asked for permission to respond. When al-Khalifa agreed, the deposed
Iraqi leader took out a piece of paper _ apparently to read a prepared
statement.

But the judge interrupted, saying he would not allow him to read it "if it
was the same letter I received from you."

Saddam ignored the call. The judge allowed him to read the statement while
he stood _ taking 20 minutes to do so _ but cut off microphones in the
courtroom.

On Monday, Saddam was thrown out of the courtroom after he protested the
court's appointment of lawyers, replacing his own.

Saddam's defense team boycotted proceedings Monday after having accused the
court of violating judicial procedures. Al-Khalifa appointed replacement
lawyers so the hearings could continue.

Four witnesses who took the stand Tuesday recalled the disappearance of
family members and brutality at the hands of Saddam's military during Anfal.

Thameena Hameed Nouri, 51, said several family members, including her
husband, fled their northern Iraqi village following heavy shelling by Iraqi
forces. She said troops arrested villagers, separating the men from the
women.

While at detention camp, troops beat her "3-year-old son in front of me, he
was unconscious for 1 1/2 hours," she said. "We started screaming and
crying, demanding they return our children."

"We were forced to drink contaminated water that harmed us, the children
vomited and suffered from diarrhea. Lice covered our bodies," recalled the
woman, who has a tribal tattoo on her chin.

Nouri said that she knew of three children dying in the camp, including her
daughter Galala.
 


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