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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 September 2005, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
Lawyer denies Saddam confession
Baghdad man reads newspaper featuring an article about Saddam Hussein's impending trial
Saddam faces the death penalty if found guilty
Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer has denied claims the ex-Iraqi president confessed to ordering mass killings and executions during his regime.

Khalil Dulaimi told Reuters news agency "there was no confession" adding that no investigation had implicated him.

The Iraqi president said on Tuesday that Saddam Hussein had admitted to a judge that he had waged a campaign against the Kurds.

Saddam Hussein's trial will start on 19 October, the Iraqi government has said.

His legal team are trying to delay the start date on the grounds that they have not been given enough time to prepare.

"There was no confession by the president and all the investigations in this case do not implicate him at all," said Khalil Dulaimi in a statement.

His comments were echoed by a lawyer for Saddam Hussein's family.

Abdel al-Haq al-Ani said Mr Dulaimi told him a week ago that the deposed president had not confessed to any of the charges brought against him.

"On the contrary, he refused most of the time to answer many of the questions posed to him," he told Dubai's al-Arabiya television

'100 reasons'

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told Iraqi state TV that an investigating judge "was able to extract confessions" from the ousted leader.

He said Saddam Hussein had confessed to ordering the reported killing of more than 180,000 Kurds in the north of the country in the late 1980s.

"There are 100 reasons to sentence Saddam to death," Mr Talabani, a former Kurdish rebel leader, told Iraqiya TV.

He said Saddam Hussein had tried to assassinate him 20 times.

However, the president - who has voiced public opposition to the death penalty in the past - said he would not sign any execution warrant himself.

Saddam Hussein and several of his closest aides are due to stand trial on charges relating to the massacre of 143 Shias in a town north of Baghdad.

The killings in Dujail in 1982 followed an attempt on Saddam Hussein's life.

Saddam Hussein could face capital punishment if found guilty in the case.


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