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Trial Of Saddam Hussein To Open Today

19 October 2005 -- Nearly two years after he was captured by U.S. forces, former dictator Saddam Hussein is scheduled today to go on trial in Baghdad for crimes against humanity before the Iraqi Special Tribunal.

The trial will be taking place inside Baghdad's heavily secured Green Zone government headquarters.

Hussein and seven other men, all members of Iraq's formerly ruling Ba'ath Party, are facing charges that they ordered the killing of more than 140 people from the mainly Shi'ite Muslim village of Al-Dujayl after a failed 1982 assassination attempt on Hussein in the town. The defendants could face the death penalty, by hanging, if convicted.

The Al-Dujayl bloodshed is the only atrocity that Hussein has been charged with so far.

A lawyer for Hussein has said he intends to ask the five-judge panel for a delay of the trial for at least three months. The lawyer, Khalid al-Dulaymi, is also expected to argue that the court, which was established under U.S. occupation in 2003, is not competent to hear the case.

The lawyer, who told reporters he met at an undisclosed location with Hussein on 18 October, described Hussein as being in good spirits and said the former leader was confident of his innocence.


See also: Human Rights Watch Fears Justice May Not Be Served By Saddam's Trial