Image: Saddam Hussein
David Furst  /  pool via AP
Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein chastises the court moments after his half brother, Barzan Ibrahim was forcibly removed from the trial held in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone on Sunday.
updated 1/30/2006 10:59:22 AM ET 2006-01-30T15:59:22

Saddam Hussein and his lawyers will boycott the next session of the deposed leader’s trial in Iraq to protest what they say is the bias of the new chief judge hearing the case, Saddam’s chief lawyer told The Associated Press on Monday.

“There is an unanimous decision by the defense team to not attend Wednesday’s hearing because of the comedy we witnessed in yesterday’s trial,” Iraqi lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi said as he arrived in Jordan from neighboring Iraq.

Chief judge Raouf Rasheed Abdel-Rahman cracked down Sunday in a chaotic trial session, ordering one of Saddam’s co-defendants and a lawyer expelled from the courtroom. The entire defense team left in protest and Saddam was escorted out after a shouting match in which he yelled, “Down with America!”

Al-Dulaimi said the ousted leader would refuse to attend Wednesday.

“If he was forced to attend, he won’t sit in the place designated for him, but will stand in a corner to protest against the measures taken by the judge,” he said.

“The court hearing yesterday lacked the basics of a fair and honest trial, and the judge was biased against the defendants, who under the law are innocent until proven guilty.”

Abdel-Rahman pressed ahead with the proceedings Sunday even after the opening drama, hearing three prosecution witnesses before adjourning the trial after 4 hours.

Defense lawyers said the stormy session showed the trial was not fair — a vital concern in a nation that is trying to reconcile its Sunni Arab minority, which dominated Iraq under Saddam, and the Shiite Muslim majority that now controls the government.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who is part of Saddam’s defense team but did not attend Sunday’s session, denounced the court as “lawless” and repeated calls for it to be moved out of Iraq.

“Now the court is seated without the defendants’ counsel of choice. This is wrong. They have the right to their own counsel and for that counsel to hear and question testimony made against the defendants,” Clark said, speaking from New York.

Charges over 1982 massacre?
Saddam and his seven co-defendants are charged in the deaths of about 140 Shiite Muslims following an assassination attempt against the former Iraqi leader in the Shiite town of Dujail in 1982. The defendants could face death by hanging if convicted.

Sunday’s proceedings, the first in over a month, disintegrated almost immediately into shouting and insults.

First, co-defendant Barzan Ibrahim, who is Saddam’s half-brother and former intelligence chief, was dragged out of the room by guards after he stood and called the court “the daughter of a whore.” Saddam shouted “down with traitors” and “down with America.”

Then Abdel-Rahman, a Kurd, threw out a defense attorney for arguing with him. The rest of the defense team stormed out in protest as the judge shouted after them, “Any lawyer who walks out will not be allowed back into this courtroom.”

Abdel-Rahman was installed as chief judge after his predecessor resigned amid complaints he was not doing enough to rein in Saddam’s frequent courtroom outbursts.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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