A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Monday, December 05, 2005

Put Tape Over His Mouth

Reuters: Court told of Saddam horrors---

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein said on Monday he was not afraid to die, after witnesses at his trial described the horrors of his rule, including use of a human meat grinder.

"You cannot continue playing these games," said Iraq's former dictator, who had repeatedly interrupted witnesses and the judge. "If you want my neck you can have it."

Saddam yelled at one of two witnesses who testified: "Don't interrupt me, you boy".

The chief judge eventually adjourned the trial until Wednesday after a highly charged session in which two men became the first witnesses to face Saddam in court.

Ahmed Hassan, 38, recounted how he and his family were seized and tortured after a 1982 attempt on the ousted leader's life in the Shi'ite Muslim town of Dujail.

Hassan, who risked reprisals by letting his face appear on television as he gave evidence, said they were taken to an intelligence building in Baghdad run by Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam's half-brother and former intelligence chief.

Tikriti, one of eight men charged with crimes against humanity, yelled at Hassan: "He should act in the cinema."

After chaotic procedural wrangling, during which former U.S. attorney-general Ramsey Clark led a defense walkout over threats to the lawyers and a challenge to the legitimacy of the court, Hassan's testimony brought the charges chillingly to life.

"I swear by God, I walked by a room and ... saw a grinder with blood coming out of it and human hair underneath," Hassan told the court. During the testimony, Barzan, sitting behind Saddam in the dock, interrupted Hassan, shouting: "It's a lie!"
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