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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 December 2005, 18:27 GMT
Saddam trial told of Iraq torture
Former Iraqi leader in court

A woman witness appearing at the trial of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has given accounts of torture at the hands of security forces.

She testified behind a screen and with her voice disguised to protect her identity, and said she was 16 when she was detained in the 1980s.

"My youth was destroyed," she told the special Iraqi court in Baghdad.

Saddam Hussein and seven former aides deny murder charges over the 1982 killing of 148 Shia Muslims in Dujail.

They could face the death penalty if convicted.

The killings in Dujail, north of Baghdad, followed an attempt on Saddam Hussein's life.

He said 'take off your clothes' and hit me with a pistol
Witness A

During her testimony, the woman, known as Witness A, said she had been forced to take off her clothes by a security agent after being detained in Dujail.

"He raised my legs up and tied up my hands. He continued administering electric shocks and beating me," she told the special Iraqi court, sobbing.

Afterwards, she said, she was held in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison for four years.

Many of her relatives were also detained, the witness added.

Retaliation fears

Questioned by the judge, the woman could not pin any specific blame against any of the defendants.

She just said that Saddam Hussein was responsible for her treatment because he was running the country.

He should receive the same level of justice as he bestowed on others
JK, Nottingham

Later an elderly woman known as Witness B told the court that she had been taken away along with her husband, five daughters and two sons.

A third witness, Witness C, testified that he was taken by security forces along with his parents and two sisters, who he described as infants, and spent 11 months at Abu Ghraib where his father died after being beaten on the head.

"They used to bring men to the women's room and ask them to bark like dogs," he said.

"My father died in prison and I was not able to see him. He was in a room about 50m (164ft) from me. He was 65 and he was suffering heart problems."

Boycott threat

The former Iraqi leader sat impassively through most of the testimony, but at one point cross-questioned Witness C.

"How come you remember all these things?" Saddam asked.

"This was a great sadness to me," the witness replied, "and I can't forget a sadness."

In another outburst, Saddam lost his temper and wagged a finger at the judge.

Defence lawyers listen to testimony from a witness behind a curtain screen
The witnesses asked to have their identities hidden

He accused the US of seeking to stage a "theatrical play" instead of a trial, and said "the Americans and the Israelis want the execution of Saddam Hussein".

Referring to one witness's testimony about her treatment, he said: "She should see my cage."

He then urged the judge to investigate his living conditions because "it is your duty as judges to investigate the crime at its scene".

At the end of the hearing, the judge ruled that the court would reconvene on Wednesday to hear two more witnesses, overruling Saddam's lawyers' request for a longer break.

In another outburst, the former leader then shouted at the judge: "I will not return, I will not come to an unjust court! Go to Hell!"

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