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Last Updated: Monday, 25 September 2006, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
Saddam thrown out of court again
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein had demanded to be allowed to leave his cage
Saddam Hussein has been thrown out of court for the second time in a week, as defence lawyers boycotted the trial.

Judge Muhammad Oreibi al-Khalifa ordered the former Iraqi leader to leave after refusing his request to be let out of his metal cage.

Meanwhile the court heard from witnesses that Kurds were gassed with chemicals, raped and tortured during the late 1980s.

Saddam Hussein and six others are being tried for crimes against humanity.

The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad says the trial had resumed surprisingly quietly and calmly despite last week's drama.

I have a request here that I don't want to be in this cage any more
Saddam Hussein

The judge provided court-appointed lawyers for the defendants for Monday's session.

An elderly Kurdish man gave evidence about events in his village in 1988, when the Baghdad government was mounting a campaign against the Kurds in which scores of thousands are known to have died.

Mohammed Rasul Mustafa, 65, said he had witnessed the bombing of a nearby village and smelled a strange odour like apples which appeared to give him breathing difficulties.

After being captured Mr Mustafa said he was imprisoned for five months, during which he saw guards "kill a man with a steel cable".

'Tortured every day'

A second witness, Rifat Mohammed Said, said he was held at the same Nugrat Salman prison camp, where children were dying of starvation and a guard called Hajaj tortured and raped detainees.

"Hajaj was beating us every day, he was torturing us every day," he said.

"The girls came back crying and told us they had been raped," he added.

While questioning one of the witnesses, defendant Sabir al-Douri - Saddam's former military intelligence chief - referred to another of the accused by his military rank, angering the judge.

At this point, Saddam Hussein waved a piece of yellow paper and said: "I have a request here that I don't want to be in this cage any more."

"I'm the presiding judge. I decide about your presence here. Get him out!" Judge al-Khalifa responded.

"You need to show respect to the court and the case, and those who don't show it, I'm sorry, but I have to apply the law."

Special permission

Defence lawyers staying away from the trial have indicated that they could return to the courtroom if some of their demands are met, our correspondent says.

These include giving foreign lawyers the right to speak in court. They currently have to seek special permission to enter the courtroom.

Some of the defence team have said they could continue the boycott indefinitely.

Saddam Hussein is being tried on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in relation to the Anfal military campaign in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq in the late 1980s.

He faces the death penalty if found guilty.

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