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Last Updated: Monday, 13 March 2006, 15:06 GMT
Saddam-era executions 'were fair'
Awad Hamad al-Bandar in court
Mr Bandar said the men received a fair trial
A co-defendant in the trial of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has acknowledged sentencing 148 Shias to death, but said it was done legally.

Awad Hamad al-Bandar told the Baghdad court that the group were tried "in accordance with the law".

Saddam Hussein and seven others are on trial for their alleged role in mass killings in the village of Dujail.

The villagers were killed in 1982 after an assassination attempt on the then Iraqi leader.


Awad Hamad al-Bandar, the chief judge of the Revolutionary Court in the early 1980s, said he had sentenced the Shias to death, but said the men had been given a proper trial.

He told the court that all the men had confessed at the two-week hearing.

"They attacked the president of the republic and they confessed," he told the court.

He said the group had admitted acting on "orders coming from Iran", which Iraq was fighting at the time.

Mohammed Azawi Ali in court
Saddam Hussein's co-defendants have denied the charges

The prosecution has said the trial was "imaginary" and that those executed did not appear before the Revolutionary Court.

Earlier on Monday, the court heard testimony from Mohammed Azawi Ali, a former Baath party official from the Dujail area.

He denied any role in detaining people in Dujail in response to questioning from the chief judge, Raouf Abdul Rahman.

"I didn't detain anyone, not even a bug," he told the court. "I didn't write any reports about people, and if there is someone in Dujail who says this bring him here and let him face me."


On Sunday, three of the co-accused, all former Baath party officials, took the stand.

The first, Mizhir Abdullah Ruwayyid, denied testimony by previous witnesses accusing him of helping in the round-up of Dujail residents and demolition of their property.

I didn't detain anyone, not even a bug
Mohammed Azawi Ali,

"I swear to God I have never hurt a human being," Mizhir Abdullah Ruwayyid told the court, adding that he was not present in Dujail on 8 July.

His father, Abdullah, and another former Baath party official Ali Daih Ali were also questioned. They also denied any wrongdoing.

Each of the defendants is due to testify in this session of the trial, but it is not clear at what point Saddam Hussein will take the stand.

The former Iraqi leader said earlier all those killed had been tried in accordance with laws in force at the time.

The former Iraqi leader could face the death penalty if convicted.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.

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