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Saddam trial resumes with new witnesses

The deposed Iraqi leader and his seven co-defendants are being tried on charges of crimes against humanity.

india Updated: Jun 05, 2006 15:33 IST

The trial of Saddam Hussein and his associates on crimes against humanity resumed on Monday with all eight defendants present and a resumption of defence witness testimony, this time for one of the more minor accused.

Presiding Judge Rauf Abdel Rahman began the session by announcing that the court would hear testimony from two witnesses for defendant Ali Dayih Ali, a minor Baathist official from Dujail.

Witnesses on Ali's behalf originally appeared on May 15 and it was originally believed the remainder of the defence testimony was going to focus on the more high profile defendants.

The judge added that 57 defence witnesses have appeared to date.

The new testimony represents a break from the dramatic events of last week when witnesses on behalf of Saddam and other high profile defendants claimed that Chief Prosecutor Jaafar al-Mussawi had offered money to potential witnesses.

Saddam and his seven co-defendants are being tried on charges of crimes against humanity including murder and torture over the crackdown on the Shiite village of Dujail in 1982 and face execution by hanging if found guilty.

The direct attacks on the prosecution represented a marked departure for the defence strategy, which previously had provided character witnesses to defend their clients or say the crackdown was a valid response to an assassination attempt on Saddam.

First Published: Jun 05, 2006 15:33 IST