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Saddam's prosecutor demands judge's dismissal

The chief prosecutor in Saddam Hussein's trial said the chief judge was too soft on the former Iraqi president and his six co-accused.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2006 14:50 IST

The chief prosecutor in Saddam Hussein's trial for genocide against the Kurds demanded on Wednesday that the chief judge resign for being too soft on the former Iraqi president and his six co-accused.

"The defendants have gone too far with unacceptable expressions and words. The defendants have uttered clear threats.

The chief prosecutor's office requests the judge step down from this case," Munqith al-Faroon told the court.

The chief judge for the trial, Abdullah al-Amiri, immediately dismissed the request and defended his approach by citing his 25 years of experience.

"The judge should coordinate and make peace so nobody takes advantage of his fairness," he replied before calling out the first of several plaintiff witnesses expected to take the stand in the third hearing this week.

Faroon had threatened to walk out of Tuesday's session after he was repeatedly denied permission to speak.

That session saw Saddam promising to "crush the heads" of civil attorneys who had called his state, one of "dictatorship and tyranny".

Amiri, keen to push the trial forward, has largely avoided confrontations with the defendants and their lawyers in a bid to avoid the delays seen in the first Saddam trial.

Saddam, 69, his cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majeed, known as "Chemical Ali", and five other former commanders also face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their role in the 1988 Anfal campaign -- Spoils of War -- that prosecutors said left 182,000 ethnic Kurds dead or missing.

A verdict is expected next month on whether Saddam is guilty of crimes against humanity over the killing of 148 Shi'ite men following a 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam.

First Published: Sep 13, 2006 14:50 IST