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Saddam's trial postponed after judge was searched

Rauf Rashid Abdel Rahman "complained about it, saying why should he be searched.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2006 20:53 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

The trial of ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was postponed after the newly-appointed chief judge objected to being searched, a defence lawyer said on Tuesday.

"What happened was when the new judge came to the court he was searched vigorously by the Americans, which he did not like," said Najib al-Nuami, who represents Saddam.

Rauf Rashid Abdel Rahman "complained about it, saying why should he be searched," according to Nuami.

Another defence lawyer, who declined to be named, said he too heard the hearing was postponed because Abdel Rahman "was unhappy with security procedures, including searches".

The court put off the hearing, which would have been the eighth since the trial began three months ago, because some witnesses were unable to attend, according to investigating judge Raed al-Juhi.

"Due to the fact some of the complainants could not make it to attend the court, some of them are out of Iraq and some are on pilgrimage, the court decided to postpone the session until Sunday," he told reporters, reading from a court statement.

He declined to take questions.

Security measures are very strict with lawyers, witnesses and journalists carefully vetted and searched at the court.

Rahman, a previously unknown Kurdish magistrate was appointed at the last minute on Monday to preside over the trial after the previous chief judge Rizkar Mohammed Amin quit following criticism that he was too lenient with the defendants.

Nuami said there also appeared to be pressure on Abdel Rahman from the present government.

First Published: Jan 24, 2006 20:53 IST