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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Saddam lawyers threaten boycott
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
The US military denies Saddam Hussein was attacked
Saddam Hussein's defence team says it will boycott future proceedings unless a man accused of attacking the ousted leader in court is brought to justice.

Lead lawyer Khalil Dulaimi told Reuters television the special tribunal set up to try Saddam Hussein must also apologise for the alleged assault.

The former Iraqi leader's lawyers say he was accosted by a man after being questioned by the tribunal last week.

However, a US military spokeswoman denied any such attack took place.

'Disgraceful act'

"As Saddam Hussein's lawyer and on behalf of all the defence team, we announce the boycott of the Iraqi Special Tribunal until they make a formal apology for the incident, and the person who committed that disgraceful act is brought to justice," Mr Dulaimi said.

As he was rising, [the man] grabbed his arm and tried to attack him
Khalil Dulaimi
Saddam Hussein's lawyer

Saddam Hussein's legal team said the former president was attacked as he was leaving the courtroom following questioning last Thursday.

Mr Dulaimi told Reuters: "A man... his name is Tahseen, I think he is a reserve investigative judge of the Special Tribunal, stood up and walked towards the president [Saddam Hussein] as he was rising, grabbed his [Saddam Hussein's] arm and tried to attack him.

"Those present intervened and ended the scuffle."

At the time, a spokeswoman for detainee operations in Iraq denied the incident occurred.

"Nothing like that happened with Saddam whatsoever," Lt Kristy Miller told Reuters news agency.

'Not afraid of death'

Mr Dulaimi said Saddam Hussein needed medical checks on his throat.

He said the former leader, who faces the death penalty if convicted of war crimes, was not afraid.

"My client does not fear death and he wishes that the court and the trial was fair and legal but he does not fear death," said Mr Dulaimi.

He said Saddam Hussein was "totally isolated from the world" in a US-run prison.

"He spends his time reading books, writing poetry, reading legal books, praying and reading the Koran," he said.

It is thought Saddam Hussein could stand trial in early September.


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