Ex-officials testify in Saddam trial resumes as violence continues
The trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein resumed once again on Monday with the testimonies of several new defendants.
Saddam and seven others are charged with the murder of 148 people in the north-western Iraqi city of Dujail in 1982 following an assassination attempt by a resident of the town on the former leader's life. One of Saddam's co-defendants testified Monday, denying he helped turn in Shiite families during the 1982 crackdown.
Mohammed Azawi Ali, a low-level Baath official accused of informing on Dujail residents. "I didn't detain anyone, not even a bug. I didn't write any reports about people, and if there is someone in Dujail who says this bring him here and let him face me," he told the court, according to the AP. When the chief prosecutor presented signed document by Ali to investigators, Ali replied, "Read it and let my father be cursed. What are they gong to do, execute me? I am dying anyway from heart problems and ulcers."
Later, a former judge acknowledged sentencing the 148 Shiites to death, but insisted they were given a proper trial and had confessed to trying to assassinate the former Iraqi president.
Taha Yassin Ramadan, a member of Saddam's Baath Party Command and the Revolutionary Command Council at the time and later a vice president read a statement in which he rejected the trial's legitimacy and claimed he had been tortured by American soldiers since his arrest in 2003. He insisted that the actions in Dujail by Saddam's regime were legal. "This trial is the oddity of our era. ... A legitimate president is being tried because his motorcade came under fire," he said.
After about five hours of questioning the defendants, chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman adjourned the trial until Wednesday.
On Sunday, according to Reuters, three defendants denied any connection to the deaths.
Meanwhile on Monday, blasts in Baghdad and north of the capital killed at least 11 more people and wounded more than 40. They included a U.S. soldier, who was killed in a roadside bombing in east Baghdad, the military said. A U.S. Marine died the previous day in the western province of Anbar.
In the worst attack Monday, a roadside bomb went off as police responded to a false report of bodies inside a store in Tikrit. According to the AP, five policemen were killed and 15 injured in the blast. A civilian bystander was also killed.
In Taji, 12 miles north of Baghdad, a roadside bomb killed a minibus passenger and injured six others, police reported.
Elsewhere, two separate car bomb attacks in the northern region of Kirkuk left two Iraqi police officers dead and four others wounded.
The first bomb wounded four policemen while 15 minutes later, a second bomb exploded killing the two policemen, according to Iraqi police forces.
Also Monday, police found the bodies of four men dangling from electrical pylons in a Baghdad Shiite slum.
Monday's attacks follow one of the deadliest days in recent weeks, when at least six car bombs near Baghdad left some 50 people dead and at least 200 wounded.
© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)