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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 July 2006, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Saddam Hussein taken to hospital
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
Saddam had been due to appear in court again on Monday
Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein has been taken to hospital as a result of a hunger strike, prosecutors at his trial in Baghdad say.

Saddam Hussein is thought to have begun refusing food on 7 July in protest at the murder of his lawyer.

He and seven co-defendants are on trial charged with crimes against humanity.

"We took him to hospital and he is being currently fed by a tube," chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi told the news agency Associated Press.

Asked whether the former leader's health had improved, he replied: "No, it is not stable yet."

Saddam Hussein and three co-defendants are believed to have begun their latest hunger strike more than two weeks ago.

Security woes

They are protesting against procedures at the tribunal, and also demanding better security for defence lawyers.

A patch of blood shows the spot where Saddam Hussein's lawyer Khamis al-Obeidi was shot dead in June
Three defence lawyers have been murdered during the trial

Three members of the defence team have been murdered during the course of the trial - most recently senior lawyer Khamis al-Obeidi, shot dead in June.

Saddam Hussein, 68, had been due to appear in court again on Monday, but Mr Moussawi told another news agency he would be unable to attend.

However, Mr Moussawi warned Saddam Hussein's lawyers they would be committing an offence if they did not attend.

The prosecution has called for the execution of the former president and two others for the deaths of 148 villagers during a crackdown in the village of Dujail after an assassination attempt in 1982.

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