Saddam Hussein slammed the chief judge of his genocide trial on Wednesday, accusing the court of preventing him from defending himself. "When the accuser and prosecutor talk, the world listens. When the man called 'the accused' speaks, you switch off the microphone. Is this fair?" Saddam asked chief judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa.
"You won't lose anything by listening (to me). This is the duty of a judge," the ousted leader said.
The judge replied that he had cut Saddam's microphone on Tuesday to "bring order to the courtroom." "Clearly you wanted to give a speech when you started reciting a verse from the holy book," al-Khalifa said. "You can talk if you want to defend yourself, but not to get into the political labyrinth."
The judge later called a witness to the stand.
Before Saddam spoke on Wednesday, the defendant Hussein Rashid Mohammed protested to the judge that a bailiff had hit him on Tuesday. "You say the court is Iraqi. Is it acceptable that a defendant is hit and sworn at in front of the judge?" asked the former army commander who had punched a bailiff who forced back into his seat on Tuesday.
Al-Khalifa replied: "Everyone in this court is under my protection." The judge added he wanted Mohammed to remain seated when he is in the court.
In Wednesday's testimony, a prosecution witness said his sister disappeared during the crackdown on the Kurds and her name later turned up on a list of people who had been "sold" to Egypt by a human trafficking gang run by Saddam's intelligence.
The witness, Abdul-Khaliq Qadir, presented an account published in an Iraqi Kurdish newspaper last year, which said the intelligence department in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk had sold 18 women to the Egyptian intelligence service.
Qadir said the document, which was sent to the central intelligence department in Baghdad, listed his sister's name and included people as young as 14.
Defendant Sabir al-Douri, who headed military intelligence under Saddam, told the judge that the purported document mis-identified the intelligence service and was clearly a fake.
The trial was adjourned to Oct. 17.