Saddam Hussein to learn his fate in October

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Thursday, July 27, 2006 File:TrialSaddam.jpg

This picture shows Saddam Hussein during his first appearance at the Iraqi Special Tribunal. He was the president of Iraq from 1979 until the United States-led invasion of Iraq reached Baghdad on April 9, 2003.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

The trial of Saddam Hussein has been adjourned until 16 October, which is when the Iraq Special Tribunal is expected to pronounce its judgment.

Hussein and seven co-defendants are on trial charged with crimes against humanity after Hussein allegedly ordered his military forces to kill 148 people from the village of Dujail following an attempted assassination of the former Iraqi leader in 1982.

Prosecutors at the trial want the death penalty for Hussein and two co-defendants. At a hearing yesterday, Hussein said that if he was found guilty and condemned to die, he would prefer to be shot rather than hanged. He also claimed that he had been taken to court against his will.

The former dictator did not appear in court for the final session of his trial today, but he is due to stand trial on 21 August to judge his part in the infamous Anfal campaign, where groups of Iraqi Kurds were murdered in the 1980s.

As Hussein's defense team has been boycotting the trial demanding better security after three of their numbers were murdered, the court has selected replacement lawyers. Iraq’s former Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan, today refused to allow the appointed representative to stand for him. "I do not know who this lawyer is or his name," he said. The other defendant was Awad Hamad al-Bandar, the former chief judge of the court.

Like he did yesterday, Judge Raouf Abdel Rahman again slated Hussein’s defense lawyers for avoiding the court. "They're sitting abroad now generating fame by issuing political statements on television stations as if this case is a political one. This behavior will harm you, the defendants. This is a criminal case, not a political one," Mr Rahman warned. Most of Hussein's legal team is based in Amman, the capital of Jordan.

His trial started in Baghdad on 19 October 2005.