Saddam trial: Defense presents first witnesses
The defense presented witnesses Tuesday in the trial of Saddam Hussein and former members of his regime. Only three lower-level defendants were in court - Abdullah Kazim al-Ruwayyid, his son, Mizhar, and Mohammed Azzawi - as the first witness took the stand, testifying from behind a curtain to protect his identity.
The first witness brought by the defense Tuesday was a son of Abdullah al-Ruwayyid and brother of Mizhar al-Ruwayyid. According to the AP, he told the court that he did not see either defendant with security forces that swept through Dujail town the day of the July 8, 1982, shooting attack on Saddam's motorcade.
But the testimony turned into shouts and bickering between defense lawyers and judge Rauf Abdel-Rahman after the latter told the witness not to refer to Saddam as "Mr. President." "We express our rejection over the court's interference in choosing the witness's words," chief defense lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi said. "The defense team is insisting that President Saddam Hussein is the legal and legitimate president of Iraq and he is so despite the (U.S) invasion exists. "What is built on falsehood is falsehood," he said.
"This is a pure criminal case. We don't have anything to do with politics," Abdel-Rahman shouted at the defense lawyers. "Your witness is a simple man with nothing to do with politics who is here to try to show your clients' innocence. Ask him questions."