Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer walked out of the former president's trial Monday after a series of defense requests were turned down. The chief judge immediately appointed other attorneys to defend the deposed leader.
Chief defense attorney Khalil al-Dulaimi had just ended a monthlong boycott of the trial, in which Saddam and six other defendants are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity for a 1987-88 offensive against Iraq's Kurdish population.
When the session started, al-Dulaimi filed 12 requests, including that the court should allow foreign lawyers to attend the trial without prior court approval. Al-Dulaimi ended his boycott in order to make the conditions. He also demanded the court investigate an alleged beating of defendant Hussein Rashid by court bailiffs.
After Chief judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa dismissed most of al-Dulaimi's requests, the defense lawyer said; "I inform the court that I'm withdrawing." The judge responded: "I allow you to withdraw. Go ahead."
Al-Khalifa rebuked al-Dulaimi for insisting on referring to Saddam as president of Iraq. "There is only one president here - it's me, the court's president," the judge said, according to the AP.
Al-Dulaimi replied there was nothing in Iraqi law to bar him from using the title of "the legitimate president of Iraq." He also branded the case against Saddam as political and said it lacked the "conditions for a fair trial".