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Saddam Hussein Explodes at Rape Claims in Court
Ousted Iraqi leader refuses to enter plea
OhmyNews (qiang)     Print Article 
Published 2006-08-22 01:18 (KST)   
He is accused of destroying entire villages and killing tens of thousands of men, women and children in the cruelest way, by poison gas and nerve agents, but it was the claim that Kurdish women were raped under his leadership that made former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein fly into an indignant rage on the first day of his new trial Monday morning.

"I can never accept the claim that an Iraqi woman was raped while Saddam is president," the ousted leader shouted, as he slammed the podium before him and pointed defiantly at prosecutors who read the charges. "How could I walk with my head up?"

In his protestations Saddam not only referred to himself in the third person but pointedly referred to ethnic Kurds as "Iraqi." He is accused of committing genocide on the non-Arab minority people in the north of Iraq. To prove the charge, prosecutors must demonstrate that the Kurds were targeted specifically for their ethnicity.

"An Iraqi woman raped while Saddam is the leader?" Saddam repeatedly shouted.

Saddam stands trial before the Iraqi High Tribunal in the fortified Green Zone of Baghdad. He and his six co-defendants, including his cousin known as "Chemical Ali, Ali Hassan al-Majid, face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their role in the 1987-88 anti-Kurdish campaign known under the code name of of "Anfal" ("Spoils of War"). The eight-stage campaign was directed against Kurds near the Iraq-Iran border and had 182,000 victims, according to prosecutors. Saddam and al Majid are the only two accused of genocide.

The five other defendants in the trial are former Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad, former intelligence chief Saber Abdul Aziz al-Douri, former Republican Guard Commander Hussein al-Tirkiti, former Nineveh Provincial Governor Taher Tafwiq al-Ani and former top military commander Farhan Mutlaq al-Jubouri.

Saddam refused to state his name--"You know who I am"--before the court and did not enter a plea, dismissing the entire tribunal as a "court of occupation." Chief Judge Abdullah al-Amiri entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

At his first trial which began Oct. 19, 2005, Saddam and seven others were accused of killing 148 Shi'ites in the village of Dujail after a foiled assassination attempt in 1982. A verdict in that trial is expected Oct. 16 of this year. Saddam faces the death penalty in both trials.
©2006 OhmyNews

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