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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 May 2006, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Saddam defendant ejected by judge
Barzan al-Tikriti in court on 31 May 2006
The judge said Barzan al-Tikriti argues with him every session
The half-brother and co-accused of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been thrown out of court for arguing with the judge.

Barzan al-Tikriti, former intelligence chief, was ordered out by Judge Rauf Abdel Rahman, who accused him of using "poisoned words" at every session.

It came as defence lawyers accused the prosecution of fabricating its case, charges the prosecution deny.

Saddam Hussein and the seven others are charged with killing 148 Dujail men.

One defence witness, speaking from behind a curtain to hide his identity, told the court he had been offered money by chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi to give false testimony.

"He gave me $500 and they threatened me if I ever told anyone about it," said the witness, who told the court he worked at a US base.

Mr Moussawi denied the claims and called for the witness to be prosecuted.

'Celebratory gunfire'

The defence also accused a key prosecution witness of perjury and claimed Mr Moussawi knew the testimony to be false.

Saddam co-defendants in the dock
Defendants were able to watch the footage on screens in the dock

Ali Hassan Mohammed al-Haidari testified for the prosecution in December that there had never been an assassination attempt against Saddam Hussein in the town of Dujail on 8 July 1982.

Any shooting in the town had come from guns being fired in celebration at Saddam Hussein's visit, he said.

But on Wednesday the defence played DVD footage of him praising the attack, which triggered a violent crackdown, at a ceremony in Dujail 2004.

In it, Mr Haidari - who was 14 years old in 1982 - tells the audience that the assassination attempt on the ousted president had been an attempt by "sons of Dujail... to kill one of the worst dictators ever".

"He's saying something totally different in this tape, contradicting his testimony," lawyer Ziyad al-Najdawi was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

The chief prosecutor dismissed the comments at the 2004 ceremony as irrelevant as they had not been made before the court under oath.

Identity crisis

The defence went on to claim that Mr Moussawi had been present at the ceremony and therefore knew Mr Haidari's testimony to be false.

They said he could be seen on the film, but Mr Moussawi said it was not him in the footage and said he had never been to Dujail.

He insisted the man in the film was one of the organisers of the gathering, a man who resembles him called Abdul-Aziz Mohammed Bandar, a view later echoed by Mr Bandar himself in court.

Nonetheless the defence lawyers called for Mr Haidari to be prosecuted for perjury and for the whole trial to be suspended.

The judge did not immediately rule on the request and the trial was adjourned until Monday.

The trial began seven months ago with Saddam Hussein and all of his co-defendants pleading not guilty.

They could face the death penalty if convicted.

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