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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Mother recalls Iraqi gas attack
Adiba Oula Bayez
Mrs Bayez said she was burnt and blinded in the attack
The third day of Saddam Hussein's genocide trial has seen a Kurdish woman testify about the death of one of her children in a poison gas attack.

The former Iraqi leader and six others are being tried over the Anfal campaign in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq in the late 1980s.

The prosecution alleges that up to 180,000 civilians were killed.

Adiba Oula Bayez described the bombardment of her village, Balisan, on 16 April 1987.

May God blind them all
Adiba Oula Bayez on Saddam and his co-defendants

She said warplanes dropped bombs that spread a smoke that smelled "like rotten apples".

"Then my daughter Narjis came to me, complaining about pain in her eyes, chest and stomach. When I got close to see what was wrong with her, she threw up all over me," she said.

"When I took her in to wash her face... all my other children were throwing up.

"Then my condition got bad, too. And that's when we realised that the weapon was poisonous and chemical."

She then described how her family was blinded by the attack, sought shelter along with other villagers from Iraqi army fire, and was taken to a detention centre.

"I went for four days without eyesight. My children could not see. I was just screaming. On the fifth day I slightly opened my eyes. And it was a terrible scene. My children and my skin had turned black," she said.

Moussa Abdullah Moussa
Moussa shows pictures of people he says were killed in chemical attacks

Mrs Bayez told the court one of her children had died after the chemical attack, and she had subsequently had two miscarriages.

"May God blind them all," she said, pointing at Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants.

Mrs Bayez is married to one of the men who testified for the prosecution on Tuesday, Ali Mustapha Hama.

The former leader, who faces the death penalty if found guilty of genocide, questioned the witness's account of one alleged chemical attack:

"I wonder if the village in which she lived was struck with chemical weapons, why she was hurt while the others, her two sisters or daughters and a husband - not one of them was hurt? And why those who came to rescue her were not hurt too? Thank you."

The trial has now been adjourned to 11 September.

Bleeding birds

Later on Wednesday, a former Kurdish peshmerga fighter described several attacks he witnessed in 1987 and 1988 - including an August 1988 chemical weapons attack on his village.

Saddam Hussein: Genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity
Ali Hassan al-Majid, ex-Baath leader in northern Iraq: Genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity
Sultan Hashim Ahmed, ex-defence minister: War crimes and crimes against humanity
Saber Abdul Aziz, ex-intelligence chief: War crimes and crimes against humanity
Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti, ex-Republican Guard head: War crimes and crimes against humanity
Taher Muhammad al-Ani, ex-governor of Nineveh province: War crimes and crimes against humanity
Farhan al-Jibouri, ex-military commander: War crimes and crimes against humanity

Moussa Abdullah Moussa described how his brother's family was killed.

"I found my brother, Saleh Abdullah and his son Shaabaan. They were 100 metres [yards] away. They were hugging and they were dead," he said.

"I can't describe the feeling which I felt with my eyes and heart. We screamed."

He said he ran past birds and chickens which lay dead after the gas attack, blood trickling from their beaks, while villagers washed their faces with milk to ease the pain of the chemicals.

"People were certain they were going to die because the government had no mercy."

Another Balisan resident, Badriya Said Khider, said nine of her relatives were killed in the attack, including her parents, husband and son, and that she still suffered the after-effects.

"I can't speak. I am breathless," she said, wheezing. "I want the court to treat Saddam as he treated us."

The accused say the campaign was a legitimate counter-insurgency operation aimed at clearing northern Iraq of Iranian troops and separatist guerrillas.

All the defendants face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, while Saddam Hussein and Ali Hassan al-Majid are additionally charged with genocide.

All seven face the death penalty if convicted.

Saddam Hussein and seven different defendants have already been tried for the killing of 148 Shias in Dujail in 1982. A verdict in that case is due on 16 October.

Ali Mustapha Hama gives evidence at Saddam's trial

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