Saddam trial hears of chemical attack

Saddam Hussein's genocide trial has resumed with a Kurdish witness describing his capture by Iraqi security forces and the stillbirth of his child in a detention cell.

    Saddam is on trial in Baghdad with six of his associates

    Rauf Faraj Abdallah, a middle-aged Kurd, told the court on Tuesday that chemical weapons were dropped on his village and the residents imprisoned by the military in the northern city of Arbil.

    Saddam and six of his former associates are accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Anfal campaign between 1987 and 1988 during which hundreds of thousands of Kurds were killed or displaced

    "The local people of Arbil began throwing us food over the barbed wire," Abdallah said. "When they knew we were helped by the locals, they took us to another place near Mosul."
      
    In Mosul he was separated from his pregnant wife, only to find out the next day from another prisoner that she had given birth.
      
    Mass grave

    "She told me that my wife gave birth in the cell, when I went in I saw my newborn baby had died," Abdallah said. The infant was later buried in a nearby mass grave.
     
    The witness told the court that he saw at least 28 people from his village killed.

    Prosecutors say that 182,000 Kurds were killed when their villages in northern Iraq were bombed, burned and destroyed. The former regime says that the campaign was a counter-insurgency operation against rebellious Kurds.
      
    If the defendants are found guilty, they face execution by hanging.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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