Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants went on an indefinite hunger strike on Wednesday to protest the killing of an Iraqi attorney who sits on the defence team, the chief lawyer of the ousted Iraqi leader said.
Khalil al-Dulaimi said, "President Saddam and other members of his leadership went on a hunger strike today to protest the killing of Khamis al-Obeidi."
"They pledged not to end the strike until international protection is provided to the defence team," said al-Dulaimi, who is on a visit to Jordan.
He said he received "the information directly from inside the green zone," but declined to elaborate.
Al-Obeidi, one of Saddam's main lawyers, was shot to death on Wednesday after he was abducted from his Baghdad home by men wearing police uniforms.
His was the third killing of a member of the former leader's defence team since the trial started some eight months ago.
Al-Obeidi, who represented the former leader and his half brother Barzan Ibrahim, was abducted from his house in the morning, al-Dulaimi said earlier.
Al-Obeidi's body was found on a street near the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City, said Iraqi police Lt Thaer Mahmoud.
Al-Dulaimi blamed the Interior Ministry, which Sunnis have alleged is infiltrated by so-called Shiite death squads, for the killing.
In a written statement later, Saddam's lawyers demanded an "international and, or independent probe into the slaying of defence team members"reference to Obeidi and two other attorneys who were killed since the trial started.