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Hussein Not A 'Dictator,' Judge Says

Saddam Hussein in court on September 12 (epa) September 14, 2006 -- The chief judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein today said the former Iraqi leader was "not a dictator."

Speaking in court, Judge Abdullah al-Amiri suggested it was the people close to him who had made him look like one.

Hussein thanked the judge for his remarks.

The judge's comments came a day after the chief prosecutor in Hussein's trial, Munqith al-Faroon, demanded that al-Amiri step down because he had allowed the court to become a "political podium" for the deposed leader and his codefendants.

Hussein and his six codefendants are facing charges of genocide against the Kurdish people in the late 1980s.

The trial resumes on September 18.