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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 20:52 GMT
Saddam asks not to attend trial
Saddam Hussein
The former leader called the genocide trial a mockery of justice
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has asked to be excused from attending further hearings of his trial.

In a letter released by his defence team, he said he could no longer put up with "continued insults" by the chief judge and prosecutors.

He said he and his lawyers had not had a chance to respond to the allegations.

The deposed leader and six others are on trial over their role in a campaign against the Kurds in the 1980s in which more than 100,000 people died.

The war crimes trial has been adjourned until Wednesday with just one witness left to appear.

Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death last month after a separate trial, but has appealed against that verdict.

'Farce'

In the handwritten letter, the former leader called the trial a mockery of justice, saying he would refuse to attend, whatever the consequences.

He cited what he claimed were repeated insults by the chief judge and prosecutors.

"I wasn't given the chance to speak when I tried to clarify the truth by raising my hand three times," he wrote in the letter.

"I ask you to relieve me from attending the sessions of this new farce and you can do whatever you want," he added.

Saddam Hussein and his six co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the Anfal campaign against the Kurds. Saddam Hussein and his cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, also face charges of genocide.

More than 70 witnesses have been heard in the Anfal trial, but when it resumes, the prosecution is likely to focus on documents allegedly linking the defendants to the killings.

One of the last witnesses told the court how he was unable to save his mother during a gas attack.






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