Saddam trial session concludes after stormy day in court
Monday's proceedings in the trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein came to a close after a stromy session in the courtroom on Monday. After boycotting the last two sessions of hearings against him and seven co-defendants, former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was forced to appear in court on Monday, according to the AP.
Previous protests had centered on disapproval of the court's new chief judge, Raouf Abdel Rahman, accused of bias against Saddam. The defendants had demanded that Rahman be replaced before they would reappear in court.
Rather than wearing his traditional suit, Saddam wore a robe, and looking fatigued, cried out to the courtroom, "Down with Bush." He later directed his comments at Judge Rahman, sayingm "Degradation and shame upon you, Raouf," and called the investigating judges "homosexuals."
Saddam's top co-defendant sat on the floor with his back to the judge for much of the session after struggling with courtroom guards.
Witness Ahmed Hussein Khudayer Al Samarrai, the former head of Saddam's presidential office, insisted he knew nothing about the events in Dujail, which Saddam and his co-defendants are accused of attacking in 1982, killing some 150 residents.
"I am not fit to be a witness in this case," Al Samarrai said, resulting in a smile from Saddam.
The former leader's half-brother, Barzan Al Tikriti, was also present, reported Reuters.
Tikriti, who had served as Iraq's defense chief in the past, reportedly interrupted judge Rahman shortly after Monday's court proceedings began.
A day earlier, chief prosecutor Ja'afar Moussawi had expressed exasperation with Saddam and the other co-defendants for their continuous outbursts in court as well as repeated calls for boycotts.
He stated that if they attempted once again to boycott the proceedings, they would be forcibly required to attend.
© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)