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Saddam Hussein laughs while listening to testimony given by a defense witness (file photo) (epa) June 19, 2006 -- The chief prosecutor in the trial of Saddam Hussein has demanded the death penalty for the ousted Iraqi president and two other defendants, Hussein's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan.


Hussein and seven other defendants are on trial for crimes against humanity related to the execution of 148 Shi'ite civilians in the town of Al-Dujayl in 1982.


The chief prosecutor, Ja'far al-Musawi, cast doubt on the claim that the killings were prompted by an assassination attempt against Hussein in Al-Dujayl.


Summing up the prosecution's final arguments, al-Musawi also asked that charges against one of the seven defendants, Muhammad Azzam al-Azzawi, be dropped and that he be released. Al-Azzawi was a low-ranking official of Hussein's Ba'ath Party in Al-Dujayl.


The trial was adjourned until July 10.


(AFP, Reuters, AP)

Saddam Hussein Biography

For a timeline of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's life from his rise within the ranks of the Ba'ath Party and the Revolution Command Council to his regime's ruthless persecution of perceived enemies at home and abroad, click here.

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