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Behind scenes, Saddam in fighting mood

Ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has shown no remorse during questioning.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2005 13:21 IST

Ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has shown no remorse during questioning and was beaten up when he hurled an obscenity at two of Shi'ite Islam's holiest figures, a source close to the investigation said.

The source, an Iraqi lawyer briefed by investigative judges in the Iraqi High Tribunal, said Saddam was being questioned over the brutal suppression of the Shi'ite uprising after Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait.

He admitted helicopters were used to machine-gun civilians in the central shine city of Karbala, saying that the armed opposition was targeted, added the source not directly involved in the case but close to Iraq's new leaders.

Asked about the shrines of the imams Hussein and Abbas that were targeted by government forces seizing back control of Karbala, he pretended at first not to know to whom the investigative judges were referring, the lawyer said.

"Who do you mean," the lawyer quoted him as saying, before issuing an expletive, provoking two of the court's clerks taking notes to lunge at the fallen dictator and start pummelling him with blows.

The 68-year-old former strongman, who used to surround himself with layer upon layer of security during his quarter century at the helm of Iraq, fought back before the chief judge intervened to restore order.

Saddam was left with a minor bruise to the forehead, the source said, while his US guards posted outside the makeshift courthouse near Baghdad international airport were amused and opted not to intervene.

First Published: Nov 16, 2005 12:20 IST