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 Saddam second day trial hit by technical problems 

 Source : AKI
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Saddam second day trial hit by technical problems 6.12.2005


Baghdad, 6 Dec. (AKI) - The start of the second day of evidence from witnesses in the trial of Saddam Hussein and seven of his former aides has been marred by technical problems. An unidentified woman from the town of Dujail - where Saddam is said to have ordered the killing of 148 Shiites in 1982 - began to give evidence to the court from behind a screen, with her voice distorted for her protection, but observers said her evidence was impossible to hear at times and the audio was eventually cut.

However, before Judge Rizkar Mohammed Amin called a recess to allow the problem to be fixed, she was heard to tell the court that she had been made to go into a room and take off all her clothes. Observers said she then sounded clearly upset.

Former dictator Saddam Hussein
Photo : AFP

On Monday two men gave evidence in the courtroom about the killings, which Saddam is said to have ordered after an assassination attempt was made on him as his convoy drove through the town, to the north of Bagdad. Ahmed Hassan Mohammed, from Dujail - who was only 15 at the time the killings were carried out - told the court how women and young girls were raped, sometimes in front of the men.

Despite constant interruptions from the former dictator and the other defendants, he went on to say: "People who were arrested were taken to prison and most of them were killed there. The scene was frightening. Even women with babies were arrested."

He gave graphic descriptions of what he saw. "They broke him. Broke his arm, his leg. This is during torture. They also shot at his foot, all of that during interrogation. He died under torture. They broke all his body parts," he told the court.

Up to ten witnesses are due to give evidence in the trial, which could see Saddam and the former Baath party officials given the death penalty. If sentenced to death they will not be tried for the other crimes against humanity carried out in Iraq which they are accused of, such as the gassing of some 5,000 Kurds in Halabja in northern Iraq.   


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