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Saddam, seven others to go on hunger strike

The former president and his comrades have decided to stage a hunger strike to protest against the tribunal's attempts to force them to appear in court.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2006 16:19 IST

Ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants have decided to go on hunger strike, one of his Jordan-based lawyers said on Sunday.

"The (former) president and his comrades have decided to stage a hunger strike to protest against the tribunal's attempts to force them to appear in court", Zyad Najdawi said.

The lawyer did not specify when the defendants, who boycotted the last hearing on February 2 in their trial for crimes against humanity, would launch the hunger strike.

The next hearing is due on Monday.

Saddam has boycotted the trial since a verbal tussle with new Kurdish chief judge Rauf Rasheed Abdul Rahman, while his half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti was ejected from court on orders from the judge.

The judge adjourned the trial after all eight defendants boycotted the last hearing.

Their absence was the latest setback for the unruly trial since it opened in a blaze of publicity in October, almost two years after the ousted president's capture by US troops.

The high-profile trial has frequently descended into farce, with stormy sessions featuring long outbursts or walkouts by the defendants and their counsel as well as the resignation of the chief judge.

First Published: Feb 12, 2006 16:19 IST