Saddam trial adjourned until May 15
An group of handwriting specialists confirmed Saddam Hussein's signature on documents related to a crackdown on Shiites in the 1980s, the judge presiding at his trial said Monday.
According to the AP, Saddam and his seven co-defendants were all present for the latest session of their six-month-old trial. On Monday, chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman read a report by an expanded five-member group that confirmed the earlier results.
Meanwhile, prosecutors later played an audiotape of a phone call between the Saddam and one of his co-defendants discussing the destruction of farmlands during the said crackdown. In the tape, a voice purported to be that of Taha Yassin Ramadan, the former vice president said the levelling of farms and palm groves in the town of Dujail, carried out as retaliation for an assassination attempt on Saddam, had been nearly finished and that the owners would be given compensation.
He also talked of moving “suspect elements” out of Dujail and the nearby town of Balad and bringing in “replacements, meaning they would try to change the social reality” in the two towns.
Co-defendant Barzan Ibrahim disputed the tape, as well as reports by the handwriting experts. “Where are you getting these documents? Whose hands are behind them?” Ibrahim said, according to Reuters.
“Forging documents and imitating signatures is an age-old phenomenon,” he said. “There have big strides in forging documents and CDs. … I can bring anyone with any knowledge of a computer and do the same thing in front of you.”
After a session of about 90 minutes, chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman adjourned the court until May 15.
The tape played during Monday's session was part of the prosecution’s effort to prove that Saddam was closely involved in the crackdown in Dujail.