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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Saddam attacks judge over dispute
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein was thrown out of court three times in a week
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has criticised the chief judge at his genocide trial in Baghdad, saying he has not been allowed to defend himself.

His comments came a day after the judge switched off the ex-leader's microphone and threw him out of court after he shouted a verse from the Koran.

Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa said his actions were needed to bring order to the court.

The case was adjourned to next Tuesday, after hearing three Kurdish witnesses.

Saddam Hussein and six co-defendants are being tried for war crimes and genocide against the Kurds, charges to which they have pleaded not guilty.

Bailiff punched

During Wednesday's session, the former Iraqi president rebuked Judge Khalifa for silencing him the day before.

"When the accuser and prosecutor talk, the world listens. When the man called 'the accused' speaks, you switch off the microphone. Is this fair?" he asked Judge Khalifa.

"You won't lose anything by listening [to me]. This is the duty of a judge," he added.

The judge replied that he had cut the microphone on Tuesday to "bring order to the courtroom".

"Clearly you wanted to give a speech when you started reciting a verse from the holy book," Judge Khalifa said.

"You can talk if you want to defend yourself, but not to get into the political labyrinth."

Saddam Hussein interrupted the trial on Tuesday when he shouted a verse from the Koran while pointing at the judges. "Fight them and God will punish them," he said.

His co-defendants stood up to protest when the former leader was ordered out of the courtroom. One of them, Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti, was also removed from court after punching a bailiff who had tried to force him into his seat.

It was the fourth time in recent weeks that Saddam Hussein had been ordered out of his trial.






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