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second day trial hit by technical problems
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Saddam second day trial hit by technical
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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