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Hussein Trial Begins In Baghdad

Hussein at an earlier appearance before the court (file photo) 19 October 2005 -- Ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein today appeared in a courtroom in Baghdad to go on trial for alleged crimes against humanity.

Hussein was ushered into the court in the capital's heavily secured Green Zone wearing a dark suit, open-collared
white shirt, and carrying a copy of the Koran. The deposed leader refused to give his name to the judge. Hussein said he does not recognize the authority of the court and identified himself as "president of Iraq."

"I am not answering to the so-called court here, with all my respect to all of you individually," he said. "I reserve my legal right as president of the state of Iraq."

Hussein and seven other men, all members of Iraq's formerly ruling Ba'ath Party, face 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.

Hussein and his co-defendants could be executed if found guilty. Hussein's defense team has said they intend to request a delay of the trial for at least three months.


For all the news about Iraq, see RFE/RL's special webpage "The New Iraq."

See also: "Iraq Votes: Constitution Referendum"

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