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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 October 2006, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Saddam trial told of mass graves
Saddam Hussein at his trial on 18 October
Saddam Hussein's lawyers have been boycotting the trial
A Kurdish witness has told the trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein how troops rounded up and killed Kurds during "Operation Anfal" in 1988.

The man, speaking from behind a screen, said he managed to escape but saw killings and mass graves.

Saddam Hussein and six co-defendants have rejected the charges of war crimes and genocide laid against them.

On Tuesday, Saddam Hussein accused prosecution witnesses of fuelling division and hatred among Iraqis.

The latest person to testify for the prosecution recounted how Saddam Hussein's troops drove terrified Kurds into the desert and gunned them down, AFP news agency reported.

"I fled from the shooting and I fell into a ditch and it was full of bodies," he said.

"I saw people who had been shot. The desert was full of mounds that all had people buried underneath."

Prosecutors say some 180,000 people died during the Anfal offensive.

Defence lawyers had been boycotting the trial after the sacking of the previous presiding judge for alleged bias towards Saddam Hussein.

Wednesday's session began without them, although it had been reported the lawyers had ended their protest.


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