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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 November 2006, 13:39 GMT
Security boost for Saddam verdict
Iraqi army soldiers guard blindfolded suspects in Baquba on 28 October
Insurgent attacks have been on the rise
All military leave has been cancelled in Iraq as part of increased security ahead of Sunday's expected verdict against Saddam Hussein.

Other measures will include a 12-hour-long curfew in Baghdad, Diyala, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces.

Saddam supporters have threatened more violence if he is sentenced to death.

"Does anyone really believe he will get a not-guilty verdict or just a life sentence in prison?," said one of his lawyers, Najeen al-Nuaimi.

The verdict comes amid increased violence - 83 bodies, some showing signs of torture, were found in Baghdad alone in the past 36 hours.

Saddam Hussein and co-defendants are accused of ordering the deaths of 148 Shias in 1982 in the village of Dujail, following an assassination attempt on the former president.

Reaction 'not surprising'

Baghdad residents said there were no extra security measures in force on Saturday.

The curfews are to be enforced from 0600 (0300 GMT) on Sunday, with vehicles and pedestrians banned from the streets.

A violent reaction would not be surprising in Saddam Hussein's home province of Salahuddin, north of Baghdad, nor in Anbar to the west of the capital, says the BBC's Hugh Sykes in Baghdad.

We know what is going to happen with us, but we will appeal against the verdict, although it will not change and will be carried out
Najeen al-Nuaimi
Saddam Hussein defence counsel

Many of his former police, senior army officers and Baath Party officials lived in the two main towns there - Falluja and the provincial capital Ramadi.

But elsewhere, there may be celebrations as there were when Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Husay were killed, our correspondent says.

Mr Nuaimi - a member of Saddam Hussein's defence team - told al-Jazeera television that the overall atmosphere and the military measures being taken suggested a death sentence was about to be passed.

"You can judge a book by its cover," he said.

Mr Nuaimi said they would appeal against the verdict, but "to a committee that is unfortunately composed of members of the same committee that is currently trying the president".

"We know what is going to happen with us, but we will appeal against the verdict, although it will not change and will be carried out."

US-Iraq disagreements

The verdict is due to come two days before mid-term elections in the US - where Iraq has been a hot topic.

Saddam Hussein in court on 31 October
Saddam Hussein is being tried on charges of crimes against humanity

More than 100 US troops were killed in October - the fourth deadliest month for US troops since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Recent days have seen a number of public disagreements between US and Iraqi officials about attempts to improve security.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has faced pressure to deliver on security, and take tougher action against sectarian militias.

He has blamed the Americans for the deteriorating situation, criticising the quality of equipment and training given to the Iraqi government forces.


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Iraqis watch the Saddam Hussein trial on television





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