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Hussein, Co-Defendants On Hunger Strike

Hussein in court on May 30 (epa) June 22, 2006 -- Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and seven co-defendants charged with killing more than 140 people in the town of Al-Dujayl in 1982 have begun a hunger strike.

Hussein's chief defense lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaymi, said the hunger strike was launched as of June 21 to protest the killing of one of their lawyers.

Khamis al-Ubaydi was the third defense attorney to be assassinated since the trial against Hussein and the other seven defendants began last October.

Al-Dulaymi said the strike will continue until adequate protection is provided for defense lawyers.

He also appeals to international legal organizations to help conduct an independent investigation into the killings that has targeted members of the defense team.

(AFP, dpa)