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Reports, Denials Over Alleged Court Attack On Saddam


http://gdb.rferl.org/692D7497-99B5-414F-8848-35DC20E60E71_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/692D7497-99B5-414F-8848-35DC20E60E71_mw800_mh600.jpg Saddam Hussein at his mid-2004 arraignment 30 July 2005 -- Saddam Hussein's Jordan-based lawyers have claimed the former Iraqi president was attacked and exchanged blows with an unidentified man during a court appearance this week, but U.S. officials and the presiding judge deny the incident took place.

Hussein's defense team, in a statement released in Amman, said today that their client was attacked as he left the courtroom in Baghdad.

It did not say whether he was hurt, but added that U.S. forces guarding the ousted leader did not intervene.

Saddam's lawyers said today that the former Iraqi leader was attacked and exchanged blows with an unidentified man during a court appearance this week. However, U.S. officials and the judge deny the incident took place.

"When the [ousted] president stood up, one of those people in the courtyard stood up and assaulted him physically," Abd al-Haq al-Ani, a consultant to Hussein's legal defense team, said today in Amman. "Now the judge did not intervene, and that is the greatest insult to the integrity of any court, because obviously the judge knew who that person was and he should have held him in contempt of court and put in prison."

Al-Ani added, "Khalil [Dulaimi, Hussein's lead attorney] requested the intervention of the American guards, who are supposed to be protecting the detainee, and the American guards refused to intervene."

The defense team said it would boycott the tribunal until Hussein is allowed proper representation by lawyers of his choice.

Earlier this month, the Iraqi tribunal filed the first charges against Saddam Hussein. They relate to the 1982 killing of Shi'ite Muslims in the village of Dujail in 1982.

No date has been set for his trial.

(AP/Reuters)
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