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Saddam blasts 'Iranian meddling' in Iraq

The ousted leader complained of being cut off from world news and told his attorneys he doesn't know what is happening outside.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2006 15:28 IST

Ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein blasted "Iranian meddling" in Iraq during a five-hour jailhouse meeting with his lawyers, one of his defence attorneys said in statements published on Monday.

"President Saddam complained of being cut off from world news and told us 'I don't know what is happening on the outside'," the head of Jordan's Bar Association, Saleh al-Armuti, told the Al-Arab Al-Yawm newspaper.

"We briefed him on major Iraqi, Arab and international affairs, led by the (Iraqi) resistance, the pressure on Syria and the Iranian nuclear crisis" during the Sunday meeting, Armuti said.

Saddam, who is being held in a US-controlled prison in the Iraqi capital, then expressed his displeasure over "Iranian meddling in Iraqi affairs".

"The Iranian danger continues to pressure Arab and Muslim nations because the Iranians have a long history of rancor, the worst in the world. How did the Arabs allow Iran to take part in Iraq's occupation?" Saddam said to the lawyers.

He also described international pressure on Baathist-ruled Syria as "natural ... because of the nationalistic positions of President (Bashar) al-Assad," Armuti said.

Saddam's trial resumes on Tuesday in the Iraqi capital. He and seven co-defendants face death by hanging if convicted of mass killings of Shiite residents from the town of Dujail, where Saddam escaped a plot to kill him in 1982.

The Jordanian barrister said Saddam was in "high spirits" and revealed that Saddam had finished writing a new book in December.

"He showed it to me. It is in three parts: poetry, short stories and literary texts," Armuti said.

Saddam told the lawyers that he spends his time reading the Koran, Islam's holy book, and writing and that he "has no spare time", Armuti added.

Armuti is among three Arab lawyers who have joined Saddam's defense team ahead of his trial. The other two are Issa Bou Rashid of Bahrain and Taysseer al-Mudather of Sudan.

They will be assisting Saddam's lead Iraqi lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi, as well as former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, US lawyer Curtis Doebbler, former Qatari justice minister Najib al-Nuaimi and Jordanian attorney Issam Ghazzawi.

First Published: Jan 23, 2006 15:28 IST