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Witness in Saddam case dead from cancer

A prosecutor in the Saddam Hussein trial said that a key witness in the case has died of cancer.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2005 18:18 IST

A prosecutor in the Saddam Hussein trial said on Friday that a key witness in the case has died of cancer, but his testimony has already been recorded on audio and video tape for presentation in the trial which is scheduled to begin next week.

Wadah Ismael Al-Sheik died on October 27, four days after talking to court officials, said Jafaar al-Mousawi, the main prosecutor. He said the testimony at a US Detention centre was "on the side of the victims."

Al-Sheik, was a senior Iraqi intelligence officer at the time of the Dujail massacre in 1982 that Saddam and seven other co-defendants are charged with. The trial is set to reopen on Monday.

If convicted, the Saddam and the others could face the death penalty for their role in the 1982 killing of nearly 150 people from the mainly Shiite town of Dujail north of Baghdad after a failed attempt on Saddam's life.

A suicide bomber on Thursday blew up his car outside a hospital south of Baghdad while US troops handed out candy and food to children, killing 30 people and wounding about 40, including four Americans.

Three women and two children were among the dead in the attack outside the hospital in Mahmoudiya, a flashpoint town 32 kilometres south of Baghdad in the "triangle of death" notorious for attacks on Shiite Muslims, US troops and foreign travellers.

A civil affairs team from the US Army's Task Force Baghdad was at the hospital studying ways to upgrade the facility when the bomber struck just outside the guarded compound.

First Published: Nov 25, 2005 18:18 IST