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Hussein's Aides To Go On Trial Next Week

Hussein and his generals (file photo) 14 December 2004 -- Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said today that some aides of former President Saddam Hussein will go on trial as early as next week.

Allawi told Iraq's National Council in Baghdad today that the start of the trials would mean that justice is taking its course in Iraq.

He did not name the aides who would go on trial, nor give exact dates. Eleven of Saddam's top lieutenants are being held in jail, including former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.

Allawi did not say when Hussein himself would appear in court. But Iraq's Human Rights Minister Bakhtiar Amin today disclosed for the first time that Saddam is being held in the U.S. military base of Camp Cropper, near Baghdad. An Iraqi official recently said the ousted president was expected to face trial after the 30 January elections.

Allawi also said Izzeddine al-Majid, an aide of ousted leader Hussein, was arrested yesterday and will face trial. Al-Majid is not on the U.S. list of 55 most wanted members of Saddam's regime.

Al-Zarqawi Aide Killed

Interim Prime Minister Allawi also said today that a senior aide to wanted terrorist Abu Mu'sab al-Zarqawi has been killed by Iraqi security forces.

Allawi, speaking in a televised address to the National Council, said Iraqi police had killed the aide, Hassan Ibrahim Farhan, and seized two of his assistants. Allawi gave no details.

The prime minister said that those captured were responsible for carrying out the beheadings of several hostages seized in Iraq. Al-Zarqawi, suspected of being linked with Al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for many of the worst attacks to take place in Iraq over the past year, including beheadings of foreigners.

Progress In Al-Fallujah

The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, visited Iraq today and spoke of progress in making the former insurgent stronghold of Al-Fallujah safe.

"Most of the city has been cleared [of insurgents]. When I talked to [commander of multinational forces in Iraq] General Casey a few days ago, he said that the thing that was inhibiting the return of the citizens of Fallujah was unexploded ordnance [ammunition], so the explosive-ordnance disposal teams had to do their work," Myers said. "In the meantime, the Iraqi government and coalition forces have started some of the reconstruction efforts that will improve living conditions in Fallujah."

Myers said the recapture of Al-Fallujah is making insurgent activity in the country more difficult. Myers said the town had been a sanctuary from which insurgents could launch attacks with ease, but it is now lost to them.


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