IMAGE: Saddam Hussein in court
David Furst  /  Pool via AFP - Getty Images
Ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein reads the Quran as he listens to witness testimony during his trial in Baghdad on Monday.
updated 10/10/2006 7:16:03 AM ET 2006-10-10T11:16:03

Saddam Hussein and a co-defendant were thrown out of court on Tuesday after the former leader began to shout during his trial on charges of genocide against Iraq’s Kurdish population.

Saddam interrupted the proceedings by shouting a verse from the Quran.

“Fight them and God will punish them!” he yelled.

The chief judge, Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, cut off the microphone and instructed bailiffs to escort the ex-president out of the courtroom.

Co-defendant Hussein Rashid Mohammed them stood up and shouted insults at the prosecutors. When a bailiff forced the defendant back into his chair, the former army commander threw a punch

The judge had Mohammed thrown out and closed the session to the media.

Before the closure, the judge told Saddam’s six co-defendants that he had been patient with them, but they were obstructing the trial.

“I allowed you to say what you want, but you’ve been making problems,” he said solemnly.

Court-appointed lawyers represented Saddam and his co-defendants.

The lawyers chosen by Saddam and his co-defendants are boycotting the trial to protest the dismissal of the first chief judge, and the court’s refusal to allow the defense time to examine thousands of documents.

The court on Monday heard testimony about burying alive prisoners and sexually abusing female detainees.

Saddam and his fellow defendants are charged with acts of genocide against Iraqi Kurds during a crackdown in the late 1980s in which an estimated 180,000 people were killed. If convicted, the defendants could be sentenced to death by hanging.

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