Prosecutors display documents indicating Saddam approved executions
Saddam Hussein's trial resumed in Baghdad with another chaos as his defense team ended their month-long boycott of the proceedings, but quickly walked out after their pleas for an adjournment and the removal of the judge were rejected.
Saddam's defense team walked out of his trial first on Jan. 29 after chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman tossed out one of the lawyers for shouting. The defense then said it would boycott the trial unless Abdel-Rahman was replaced, accusing him of bias against Saddam. Court-appointed lawyers sat in during sessions over the past month.
Saddam and his seven co-defendants entered the court Tuesday and took their seats silently. But, shortly after the lawyers walked out, Saddam's half-brother and former intelligence head Barzan al-Tikriti had a heated verbal exchange with the judge. "I don't want the appointed lawyer," shouted Barzan, according to Reuters.
The defendants have been on trial since Oct. 19 in the killing of some 150 people from the town of Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam there. During Tuesday's session, the prosecutors presented a document they said was signed by the former president approving the executions of more than 140 Shiites in Dujail.
A document from the Revolutionary Court, dated June 14, 1984, stated that 148 suspects had been sentenced to death by hanging and listed their names. The prosecutor said the signature on the paper was that of the court's head, Awad al-Bandar, one of Saddam's co-defendants.
A memo dated two days later was a presidential order approving all 148 death sentences. It was signed by Saddam. According to the AP, prosecutors also showed a March 1985 document said to be signed by Ibrahim - then the chief of the intelligence agency - ordering the executions to be carried out.
Another document from the Revolutionary Court, dated March 23, 1985, confirmed that 96 executions took place. Another 46 people were "liquidated during interrogations," a later document stated. It also said four people were executed by mistake.
After about two hours of hearing documents, the court adjourned until Wednesday.
Hours before the trial was resumed, a blast badly damaged a Sunni mosque in northern Iraq, where the father of Saddam is buried. The bomb blast damaged a dome and blew out the doors and windows at the Hussein al-Majid mosque, which houses his father's grave, police Capt. Qais Abdul-Majid said.