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Last Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006, 15:28 GMT
Timeline: Saddam Hussein Dujail trial
Saddam Hussein and seven different defendants were put on trial for the killing of 148 Shias in Dujail in 1982. Here is a day-by-day account of the trial, summarising the key evidence, events and sentences.


Lawyers lodge appeals against the death sentences imposed on Saddam Hussein, his half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and Iraq's former chief judge, Awad Hamed al-Bandar.

The appeal is lodged two days before the expiry of a deadline and a month after the sentence was imposed. A panel of nine judges will review the verdict.

Iraqi law states that if they uphold the verdict, the death sentence must be carried within 30 days.


Summary: Saddam Hussein is found guilty of crimes against humanity for the killing of 148 Shias in Tigris river city of Dujail in 1982.

He is sentenced to death by hanging.


Summary: The court's chief prosecutor, Jaafar al-Moussawi, says that the verdict, expected on 5 November, could be delayed by up to two weeks to allow for judicial "checks". The US ambassador to Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad, denies that the Bush administration is pressing for a verdict before America's mid-term elections on 7 November.


Summary: The trial is adjourned until 16 October when a verdict is expected.

Saddam Hussein does not appear in court for this final session.

Two defendants are there for summations - former Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan, who refuses to allow the court-appointed lawyer to represent him, and Awad Hamad al-Bandar.


Summary: Saddam Hussein returns to court, saying he has been brought in forcibly from his hospital bed.

He says if he is found guilty and condemned to die, he would like to be shot, not hanged.

Shooting is the appropriate means of execution for a military man like himself, he says.

The former leader, who appears thinner because of the hunger strike he has been on, is later reported to be taking food.

Court-appointed replacement lawyers have been named as his defence team continues to boycott the trial. Saddam Hussein says he objects to them.


Summary: The trial resumes but without Saddam Hussein, who is ill in hospital as a result of a hunger strike.

The entire defence team also boycott the session, claiming their demands for a fair trial have not been met.

Chief Judge Raouf Abdel Rahman accuses Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, who is present in court, of having blood on his hands.

The case is adjourned until Wednesday, when the judge says he hopes lawyers for the defendants would present their case.


Summary: Chief Judge Raouf Abdel Rahman adjourns the trial until 24 July, insisting that defence lawyers end their boycott at that time.

The judge tells the lawyers the court is prepared to appoint its own lawyers to take their place, adding that they will harm their clients if they continue their boycott.

Saddam Hussein and several of his co-accused continue to stay away from the court, although two minor defendants do attend.

Lawyers for Abdullah Kazim Ruwayyid and his son Mizhar give their closing statements.


Summary: Saddam Hussein announces a boycott of the trial, saying it makes a mockery of international and Iraqi law and is driven by "malicious" US aims.

His criticism, spelled out in a letter to Chief Judge Raouf Abdel Rahman, comes as the court is due to hear closing arguments from the defence.

Saddam's lawyers and those of three of his top co-defendants - his half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Taha Yassin Ramadan and Awad Hamad al-Bandar - say they will also boycott proceedings.

The lawyers tell Mr Abdel Rahman they will not attend the trial until their security is improved and other demands are met.

Their protest follows the abduction and killing of one of Saddam's defence lawyers, Khamis al-Obeidi, in June. He is the third defence lawyer to be killed since October.

Meanwhile lawyers for two of the more minor defendants - Ali Daeem Ali and Mohammed Azawi Ali, both former Baath party officials for the Dujail area - give their closing statements.


Summary: Chief trial prosecutor Jaafar al-Mussawi delivers the final arguments for the prosecution, calling for Saddam Hussein, his half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and the former Vice-President, Taha Yassin Ramadan, to be sentenced to death.

He says: "They were spreading corruption on Earth... and even the trees were not saved from their oppression."

The trial is adjourned to 10 July, when the defence will deliver its final arguments and the five-judge panel will retire to consider its verdict.

The prosecution asks for charges against one defendant, Baath party official Mohammed Azzam Azzawi, to be dropped and for him to be freed.


Summary: Presiding Judge Raouf Abdel Rahman opens the session by saying it will be the last afforded to defence testimony.

He reprimands the defence team for indulging in "endless rhetoric", and says later: "You've presented 62 witnesses. If that's not enough to present your case, then 100 won't work."

He also bars Barzan al-Tikriti, who was thrown out the day before after persistent interruptions and called the judge a "dictator".

The case is adjourned until the following week, when closing arguments will begin.

Key evidence: Saddam Hussein's former bodyguards say after the assassination attempt against him he ordered them not to return fire, for fear of hurting innocent people.


Summary: The resumption of the trial is marred by angry outbursts.

One of the co-defendants on trial with Saddam Hussein is thrown out of court. Barzan al-Tikriti is removed by security guards after arguing with the chief judge, Abdel Rahman.

Defence lawyer Curtis Doebbler asks the judge for more time for the preparation of the defence's case.

Mr Doebbler says the defence is "at a serious disadvantage" because of the handling of the trial. He also says the prosecution was given more than five months to present its case, while the defence is being "rushed" to conclude within weeks.

Judge Rahman tells the court that action has been taken against four witnesses who were arrested last week for accusing the prosecutor of trying to bribe them to give false evidence.

Three of the witnesses had testified that some of those allegedly killed at Dujail were still alive. The defence said this undermined the credibility of the whole prosecution case.

The trio were arrested for perjury.

The judge reads alleged confessions to perjury by the men. "We reached a decision that these witnesses were lying and we took action against them," the judge says.


Summary: The defence team contests the authenticity of the documents presented in the case, demanding the trial to be halted to investigate its claims. It also protests over the arrest of its four witnesses held on suspicion of making false statements.

Two witnesses are called for Ali Daeem Ali, a former Baath official and mayor of Dujail who is accused of providing lists of people to be arrested during the crackdown in 1982.

The trial is adjourned until 12 June.

Key evidence: The defence reads out a list of 15 people from the 148 said to have been executed after the Dujail attempt on Saddam Hussein, saying 10 of them are still alive and the rest died natural deaths later or were killed in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

Judge Rahman orders the defence to provide documents to back up their claim.

The two witnesses for Ali Daeem Ali say he has done nothing wrong and "has never hurt anyone".


Summary: The defence accuses the prosecution of fabricating its evidence, charges the prosecution denies, and calls for the trial to be halted for an investigation into the claims.

One defence witness accuses the chief prosecutor of bribing him to give false testimony. The prosecutor calls for the witness to be prosecuted. The defence shows DVD footage to discredit a key prosecution witness.

Judge Raouf Abdul Rahman orders Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, half brother and co-accused of Saddam Hussein, from the court for repeatedly arguing with him.

Key evidence: The unidentified witness claims chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi offered him $500 to give false evidence and said his family was threatened.

The DVD played to the court shows key prosecution witness Ali al-Haidari praising the attempted 1982 assassination of Saddam Hussein in Dujail, the defence says. Mr Haidari told the court in December there was no such attempt on the ex-president's life.


Summary: A witness for the defence tells the court that 23 of the 148 Shia villagers said to have been executed over their alleged involvement in an assassination attempt against Saddam Hussein are in fact alive.

The judge calls on the defence to limit the number of witnesses it plans to call, saying quality of testimony is most important.

Key evidence: The unidentified witness, a teenager in Dujail in 1982, offers to write a list of names of people said to have been executed who are still alive. He says there are "around 23" of them. He says they fled abroad but returned after Saddam was overthrown in 2003.


Summary: Two defence witnesses testify on the fairness of the trial in which 148 Shia men from Dujail were sentenced to death over their alleged involvement in an assassination attempt against Saddam Hussein.

Key evidence: The first witness, a former Revolutionary Court lawyer, appears on behalf of Awad al-Bandar, one of Saddam Hussein's co-accused and the chief judge when the court sentenced the Shias to death.

He says the court was fair, provided adequate defence and gave defendants ample chance to speak.

A second witness, once a defendant at the same court, says it was just in all of its handling of his case.


Summary: Former Iraqi Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz testifies for the defence, calling Saddam Hussein his "colleague and comrade for decades".

There is another spat between the chief judge and defendant Barzan al-Tikriti, who accuses the former of "insulting a woman" by throwing out defence lawyer Bushra Khalil in the previous session.

Key evidence: Mr Aziz says the defendants cannot be guilty for the deaths of 148 men following a 1982 assassination attempt on Saddam Hussein because the state had a right to punish such an action.

Saddam Hussein's director of personal security, Abed Hamid Mahmud, gives details of how the assassination attempt was made.


Summary: The chief judge clashes with one of the defence lawyers, Bushra Khalil. She is expelled from the courtroom after the judge tells her to wait for her turn to speak. Saddam Hussein protests to the judge - but he too is told to be quiet.

Key evidence: Three defence witnesses appear. Sabawi Ibrahim al-Tikriti, half-brother of Saddam Hussein, testifies for the ex-leader's co-defendant, former intelligence head Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti.

Another witness also testifies for Mr Tikriti from behind a screen. The third is a former Revolutionary Court employee, who denies that 148 Shia men executed over the 1982 attempt on Saddam Hussein's life were tried unfairly.


Summary: All defendants appear in court, as witnesses testify in defence of four of the lesser-known defendants.

The judge agrees to allow the defence to call Saddam Hussein and Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti as a witnesses for co-defendant Taha Yassin Ramadan.

Key evidence: Witnesses screened by a curtain testify that the defendants are good men and low-ranking officials with no responsibility or involvement in the killings in Dujail.


Summary: The defence calls witnesses to give evidence for three of the lesser-known defendants, who are all former Baath party officials with responsibility for the Dujail area.

Relatives of the three men - Abdullah Kadhem Ruaid, his son Mizher and Mohammed Azawi Ali - are among the unidentified witnesses who give evidence from behind a curtain.

Saddam Hussein and the other more senior co-defendants are not in court.

Key evidence: Two witnesses say the Ruaid family were low-ranking party members and simple farmers whose land was among that razed in retaliation for the attack on Saddam Hussein.

One witness, a family member, says Mizher Ruaid - who is accused of helping to round up residents and demolish their property - was made to stay at his post at the town's telephone exchange at the time of the crackdown.

"He was on night shift for the government, how would he have been able to take on another task?"

Another tells the court: "My father is a tribal sheikh and people loved him for his love and fairness towards people... It's a crime to bring him here."


Summary: Saddam Hussein refuses to enter a plea as detailed formal charges are read out against him, marking the end of the prosecution's case.

"I can't just say yes or no to this," he tells the judge when asked to plead guilty or not guilty. "I am the president of Iraq according to the will of the Iraqis and I am still the president up to this moment."

Saddam Hussein and his half-brother and former intelligence chief, Barzan al-Tikriti, are charged with ordering the murder of 148 people in the later phase of the crackdown on Dujail. They are also charged with ordering the murder of nine people in the early days of the crackdown.

The illegal arrest of 399 people, the torture of women and children and the destruction of farmland make up the rest of the charges against the two.

In total, formal charges are issued against eight defendants, all of whom either plead not guilty or refuse to enter a plea.


Summary: The prosecution plays a recording it says is of a telephone conversation between Saddam Hussein and former Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan, discussing the destruction of farmland in Dujail.

It also hears a report by more handwriting experts confirming the signatures of Saddam Hussein and six of his co-defendants on documents linking them to the crackdown on Shia villagers.

The experts cannot verify the signature said to be of the seventh co-defendant, Mizher Abdullah Ruaid.

Former intelligence chief Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein's half-brother, again disputes the evidence, saying it was aimed at ruining the reputations of the accused.


Summary: The judge announces that handwriting experts have concluded that signatures on documents - including the death warrants of Dujail villagers - did belong to Saddam Hussein.

Barzan al-Tikriti's signature was also verified. He said the documents were fake and accused the prosecution of "using any means to make the accused guilty".


Summary: Handwriting experts say Saddam Hussein signed the death warrants for 148 Shias in Dujail in 1984, prosecutors claim.

The prosecution reads out a report by experts who say the signature on the orders matches the writing of the former Iraqi leader, at the resumption of his trial.

Defence lawyers claim the experts cannot be independent because they have links to Iraq's interior ministry, and call for a fresh set from abroad.

The trial is then adjourned until Wednesday to give the experts more time to study the alleged signatures of Saddam Hussein and his former head of the intelligence service, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti.

Mr Tikriti also dismisses the prosecution's attempt to prove his role in the Dujail killings, saying his signature was forged.

Key evidence: The prosecution reads from a report by handwriting experts who say the signature on Dujail death warrants matches the writing of the former Iraqi leader.

Defence lawyers dispute the claims, challenging the experts' independence because of their alleged links to Iraq's interior ministry.


Summary: Saddam Hussein dismisses evidence as fake, as he is cross-examined for the first time.

The prosecution produces identification cards suggesting that 28 people whose executions the former Iraqi leader approved had been under 18 - the minimum legal age for the death sentence under his rule.

But Saddam Hussein dismisses the evidence, saying ID cards can be forged.

He also says prosecution witnesses at his trial had been bribed and coached in what to say.

In acrimonious exchanges with the trial judge, the defendant accuses him of being scared of the interior minister.

The former leader also calls for an international body to examine signatures on an order approving death sentences against those accused of organising an assassination attempt against him in Dujail in 1982.

Meanwhile, a defence lawyer is ordered from the court by the judge when she tried to display photos of Iraqis tortured in US-run prisons.

Key evidence: The prosecution produces identity cards for some of the people it says were minors when Saddam Hussein approved their executions.

Saddam dismisses them, saying ID cards can easily be forged.


Summary: Saddam Hussein begins his formal defence by attacking the court as a "comedy".

In an apparent reference to the bombing of a Shia shrine at Samarra, he warns Iraqis against sectarian violence but praises the insurgency as "the resistance to the American invasion".

After Saddam Hussein rejects the judge's warnings against using the trial as a political platform, the press is barred from the rest of the hearing. The trial is later adjourned until 5 April.

Earlier in the day, Saddam Hussein's half-brother and former spy chief, Barzan al-Tikriti, denied any involvement in the deaths in Dujail.

Mr Tikriti said he had only visited the village once after the assassination attempt. On that visit, he said he had chided the security forces for making unnecessary arrests and ordered several prisoners to be set free.

Mr Tikriti also denied that he was in charge of the security sweep in Dujail, saying this was the responsibility of other government agencies.

Key evidence: The prosecution showed a letter, apparently signed by Mr Tikriti, asking for several intelligence officials to be commended for their work in Dujail.

Mr Tikriti denied the signature on the letter was his, saying it had been forged.


Summary: Co-defendant Awad Hamad al-Bandar acknowledges he sentenced 148 Shias from Dujail to death - but says this was done "in accordance with the law".

Mr Bandar, who was chief judge of the Revolutionary Court in the early 1980s, says all the men had received a proper trial. He says the group had confessed to attacking the president on the orders of Iran, which Iraq was fighting at the time.

The prosecution says no such trial took place.

Earlier, Mohammed Azawi Ali, a former Baath party official from the Dujail area, denied before the court that he detained anyone in Dujail.


Summary: Former Baath party official Mizher Abdullah Ruaid appears in court to deny testimony by witnesses accusing him of helping round-up Dujail residents and demolish their property.

Mr Ruaid's father and another former Baath party official, Ali Daeem Ali, also appear in the dock and deny any wrongdoing.


Summary: Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants appear quietly for a second day of prosecution evidence. All the defence lawyers, except one of the two who walked out on Tuesday, also appear.

But in a dramatic development as the court comes to a close for the day, Saddam Hussein declares he alone is responsible for the actions of his regime and the court should not be trying anyone else. He admits razing the farms of those that died, but denies he committed any crime.

Key evidence: The chief prosecutor presents more documents and letters that he claims implicate those on trial.

They include death certificates of nearly 100 Dujail villagers, as well as transfer orders showing how their families were sent into the desert and their properties seized.

One letter reveals that four of the accused were executed by mistake, while two were released by mistake. Another shows that nearly 50 died during interrogation, rather than by hanging.


Summary: Saddam Hussein's defence team makes its first appearance in a month after boycotting the trial on the grounds that the chief judge is biased. The team immediately calls for the chief judge and chief prosecutor to be removed and for the trial to be postponed. The chief judge refuses and two top defence lawyers walk out.

But proceedings are calmer and the eight defendants take their seats relatively quietly.

Key evidence: Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi presents a memo dated 16 June 1984. He says it contains the signature of Saddam Hussein approving the death sentences of 148 Iraqi Shias from the village of Dujail, where the ex-president survived an assassination attempt in 1982.

Another document, dated two days earlier and announcing the death sentences, is signed by co-defendant Awad al-Bandar, Mr Moussawi alleges.


Summary: The court session opened with shouting and defiance from the defendants. Saddam Hussein announced he and his seven co-accused had been on hunger strike for three days in protest at the way the court was treating them.

Saddam Hussein's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti appeared dressed in long underwear for the second day running to signal his rejection of the court.

Key evidence: Two former intelligence officials appeared - one hidden behind a curtain, the other, Fadil Mohammed al-Azzawi speaking in open court.

But Mr Azzawi insisted he was there against his will and could provide no information about the Dujail massacre, adding that he had only signed a witness statement because he had not had his glasses and could not read the paper.

Barzan al-Tikriti made his liveliest defence statement yet, insisting that he had ordered the release of Dujail prisoners and had nothing to do with the massacre. "I released all the detainees inside the hall - more than 80 persons. I swear to God I said goodbye to them one by one and apologised," he said.

A former culture minister and personal aide to Saddam Hussein, Hamed Youssef Hamadi, also appeared.

He was shown a piece of paper recommending rewards for six officials for their part in the Dujail arrests, bearing the hand-written word "agreed".

When asked to identify the handwriting Mr Hamadi said: "It looks like President Saddam's."


Summary: Saddam Hussein caused uproar as he was forcibly returned to the court after having boycotted sessions with his seven co-defendants.

He shouted slogans against the US and the new chief judge, Raouf Abdul Rahman, who he continued to insist must be removed on the grounds he was biased. "This is not a court, this is a game," Saddam Hussein shouted.

Judge Rahman pressed on with the case. "The law states that if the defendants refuse to appear before the court, he will be forced to appear," he said.

Key evidence: Two key former Saddam Hussein aides appeared in court but both complained they were being forced to testify. They were the former head of Saddam Hussein's office, Ahmed Khudayir, and the former chief of foreign intelligence, Hassan al-Obeidi.

Mr Khudayir was shown a document, purported to contain his signature, which apparently showed Saddam Hussein had ratified killings at Dujail in 1984. Mr Khudayir said: "I don't remember. I don't remember anything at all."


Summary: The trial resumed with none of the eight defendants in court. Saddam Hussein and four other defendants who had boycotted the trial on Wednesday did not reappear, while the remaining three were barred by the judge because of what he called chaos and disorderly behaviour outside the courtroom.

After hearing from two witnesses, the trial was adjourned for ten days.

Key evidence: Two prosecution witnesses gave evidence.

One of the witnesses testified from behind a curtain to hide his identity.

He said he and other members of his family had been tortured by Saddam Hussein's security forces.

"They tortured us severely. Even one of my sisters, they took her clothes off and beat her up in front of me. They hanged me from the ceiling and subjected me to electric shocks," he said.


Summary: The new chief judge said he would allow the trial of Saddam Hussein to proceed without the former Iraqi leader being present.

Five of the eight defendants did not appear for the latest hearing after walking out with Saddam on Sunday. Their defence lawyers also stayed away after demanding the removal of Judge Rahman whom they claim is biased.

A defence team was appointed by the court instead.

The hearing was held without argument or disruption and was dominated by witness testimony.

Key evidence: The court heard from five prosecution witnesses.

Among them was a woman who testified that she was arrested by Saddam Hussein's security forces and tortured in prison.

She said she was stripped naked, hung by her feet and kicked repeatedly in the chest by the then intelligence chief Barzan al-Tikriti.


Summary: Saddam Hussein walked out of court just minutes after his trial resumed, following his defence team and two more of his co-defendants.

The walkouts came after new chief judge Rahman had Saddam's half brother and co-defendant Barzan al-Tikriti removed from the court for complaining at length about the treatment he was receiving for his medical condition (cancer).

The judge accused the defence lawyers of leading defendants to think they could show disrespect the court's authority. A defence lawyer was ejected from the court, and as a result the rest of Saddam's defence team stormed out. Saddam launched into a vigorous exchange with the judge. He was also eventually removed.

Four new defence lawyers were appointed but two of the defendants, Taha Yassin Ramadan and Awad Hamad al-Bandar, said they did not approve and also left the court. The trial was adjourned until 1 February.


Summary: The trial was postponed until 29 January after the court failed to convene. Officials said witnesses were still out of the country after the Hajj pilgrimage, which had ended 11 days previously.

There were also suggestions of a row among the tribunal panel over the replacement chief judge. Judge Raouf Abdul Rahman was appointed on 23 January to take over from Judge Rizgar Amin, who resigned amid accusations from government officials that he was too lenient towards the defendants.


Summary: The trial was adjourned until 24 January after further graphic testimony about torture and killings. Saddam again interrupted proceedings to denounce the US, saying it had lied about weapons of mass destruction before invading Iraq, and was lying again by denying his allegations that his American jailers had beaten him. There were also outbursts by Barzan al-Tikriti, who complained that television coverage of the trial had been censored by the authorities.

Key evidence: Three witnesses testified at a brief closed session on Thursday, speaking from behind a curtain to conceal their identities.

The first, Witness H, said he was eight years old during the killings in Dujail.

He said his grandmother, father and uncles had been arrested and tortured, and that he had never seen his male relatives again.

Saddam said the witness was too young at the time of the incident for his testimony to be reliable.

The former Iraqi leader said he was sorry to hear the witnesses' accounts of torture.

"When I hear that any Iraqi has been hurt it hurts me too," he said.


Summary: Saddam Hussein told the court that he had been beaten by US troops while in custody. "I have been beaten on every place of my body, and the signs are all over my body," he said. The prosecution ridiculed his claims. The former Iraqi leader spent much of the day listening quietly as two witnesses testified.

Key evidence: Two witnesses gave accounts of torture at the hands of the Iraqi security services and said Dujail had been attacked by helicopter gunships following the attempt to assassinate Saddam.

Ali Mohammed Hassan al-Haydari, the first witness, said his entire family of 43 had been rounded up and tortured. Some of his brothers were shot dead.

"I saw my brother being tortured in front of my eyes," said Mr Haydari, who was then 14-years old.

Witness G, who gave evidence anonymously from behind a curtain, told the court that Saddam Hussein's half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti, had been present at the detention centre.

"When I was being tortured, Barzan was sitting and eating grapes," he said.

Barzan al-Tikriti later began shouting at the judge, saying he was a politician, not criminal.

"My hand is clean," he said, holding it up.


Summary: The day was dominated by hours of wrangling over how to proceed when Saddam Hussein made good on his threat to boycott the trial, refusing to attend. In the end the trial was resumed without him and two anonymous witnesses gave evidence of alleged torture, before the hearing was adjourned until 21 December.

Key evidence: Speaking from behind a curtain, Witness F described his treatment during 70 days of detention in Baghdad intelligence prison, followed by a year-and-a-half in Abu Ghraib prison.

He told the court of beatings and said Saddam's half-brother and co-defendant Barzan al-Tikriti was present at one point.

However, he admitted under questioning that he had been blindfolded and had been told by other detainees that it was Barzan who spoke.

Witness F said prisoners were tortured every day in Abu Ghraib through sleep deprivation, starvation, being forced to stand for days.


Summary: The trial heard evidence from three witnesses from the town of Dujail. All the witnesses were allowed to retain their anonymity and gave evidence behind a curtain. When the judge said the trial would continue on Wednesday, Saddam Hussein said he was exhausted, and told him to "go to hell".

Key evidence: With her voice disguised to protect her identity, Witness A said she had been forced to take off her clothes by a security agent, beaten and then tortured with electric shocks.

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

When questioned by the judge, the woman could not pin any specific blame on the defendants, but said Saddam was responsible because he was running the country.

Another witness, Witness C, testified that he was taken by security forces along with his parents and two sisters, 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.


Summary: The first witness to appear in person at the trial gave evidence - angrily interrupted by Saddam Hussein and his half-brother. Saddam Hussein told the court he was not afraid of being executed. Earlier, the trial was suspended for more than an hour because of a walkout by defence lawyers protesting at the refusal of the chief judge to let them challenge the legitimacy of the process in open court.

Key evidence: Ahmed Hassan Mohammed gave a moving account of torture at the hands of the Iraqi security services.

He told how women and children were tortured, and said that dead babies were often abandoned in public.

"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," Mr Mohammed said.

The Iraqi forces' torture equipment included a mincing machine sometimes fed with living human bodies, he added.

The court heard Mr Mohammed describe how one of his friends was killed: "They broke him. They broke his arms, his legs, and they shot at his feet."


Summary: The trial heard its first witness testimony, from a former Iraqi intelligence officer who investigated the 1982 assassination attempt which triggered the alleged massacre in Dujail. Saddam Hussein complained that his foreign guards had taken his pen away, rendering him unable to sign court papers. At least four defence lawyers failed to turn up and the trial was adjourned until 5 December so the defence team could replace two murdered lawyers.

Key evidence: In his testimony, taped before his recent death from cancer, Waddah al-Sheikh said hundreds of people were detained after the ambush in Dujail, which was estimated to have been carried out by between seven and 12 assailants.

"They rounded up 400 people from the town - women, children and old men. Saddam's personal bodyguards took part in killing people," he said.

"I don't know why so many people were arrested. [Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti] was the one directly giving the orders."

Mr Sheikh noted that Saddam Hussein had decorated intelligence officers who had taken part in the operation.


Summary: The trial began in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. Saddam Hussein defiantly questioned the validity of the court before he and his seven co-defendants pleaded not guilty to charges of ordering the killing of 148 Shias from the village of Dujail. After just over three hours, the trial was adjourned until 28 November. The chief judge, Rizgar Mohammed Amin, a Kurd, said the main reason was that witnesses had not shown up.

Key moments: Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants were led into pens in the centre of the courtroom.

Saddam sat next to Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, who was his intelligence chief; former Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan; Awad Hamad al-Bandar, a former chief judge; and Dujail Baath party officials Abdullah Kadhem Ruaid, Ali Daeem Ali, Mohammed Azawi Ali and Mizher Abdullah Ruaid.

The former Iraqi leader refused to confirm his identity telling the presiding judge: "Who are you? What is all this?"

Amid some verbal sparring with the judge, the Saddam stated: "I preserve my constitutional rights as the president of Iraq. I do not recognise the body that has authorised you and I don't recognise this aggression.

Later, as the trial adjourned, he was involved in what appeared to be a scuffle with the guards who wanted to grab his arms to escort his out.

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