Saddam 'forced' to courtroom

Saddam Hussein, who has been receiving medical care for his hunger strike to protest against his trial for crimes against humanity, has said that he was brought to court against his will.

    Saddam: they brought me against my will

    The defence team for the former Iraqi leader and seven co-accused boycotted the latest session in a trial approaching its conclusion.

    "It was not my choice to come to court," Saddam told the judge on Wednesday.

    "I wrote you a petition clarifying that I don't want to come to court, but they brought me against my will ... I have been on a hunger strike since July 8."

    Saddam, 69, was being fed through a tube on Sunday after 16 days of his hunger strike to protest against what he sees as an unfair trial, but despite losing some weight he looked healthy and behaved angrily.

    Saddam and his co-defendants are charged with the execution of 148 Iraqi Shia men and teenagers after an attempt on his life in the town of Dujail in 1982.

    Force-feeding

    His hunger strike and the boycott by his lawyers have further tarnished a trial during which three defence lawyers have been murdered and the first chief judge resigned in protest over what he said was government interference.

    "Half my lawyers were killed. Is it too much for you to protect them?" Saddam asked Raouf Abdel Rahman, the current chief judge.

    When Saddam's court-appointed lawyer was about to read his closing argument, Saddam interrupted and said: "The argument was written by a Canadian American agent."

    Saddam's lawyers have accused the US military of force-feeding him.

    "In hospital they were feeding me through my nose to my stomach," Saddam said.

    "I reject standing before this court and letting it decide what it likes. We don't recognise a government appointed by occupation or this court."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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