BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – Saddam Hussein accused the White House on Thursday of lying about his alleged stockpiles of chemicals weapons and also about the claim he made on Wednesday that he was tortured in U.S. custody.
Speaking at the start of the seventh session of his trial on charges of crimes against humanity, the former Iraqi president immediately rekindled his battle of words with Washington.
"The White House are liars. They said Iraq had chemical weapons," he told the court.
"They lied again when they said that what Saddam said was wrong," he added, referring to a White House statement that his claims that he had been tortured were preposterous.
On Wednesday, Saddam accused the Americans of beating him in custody and said he had bruises on his body to prove it. There were other theatrical moments during Thursday””s hearings: the judge dismissed one of the courtroom guards after the defendants complained he had threatened them.
Saddam””s half-brother and co-defendant Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti accused the prosecutors of being former fellow members of the Baath arty; and a prosecutor asked to be relieved of his duties because of insults from the dock — a request dismissed by the judge.
In one of the more conciliatory statements he has made since the trial began on Oct. 19, Saddam said on Wednesday those guilty of the alleged torture of detainees described by witnesses should be punished, apparently distancing himself from the accusations.
"When I hear that any Iraqi has been hurt it hurts me too," the 68-year-old former leader said. "The wrongs that were done to those people were wrong and, according to law, those who did it should get what they deserve."
Saddam and his seven co-defendants are charged with ordering the killing of 148 people from the mainly Shi””ite village of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in the 1980s.
Prosecutors say Saddam ordered the killings in reprisal for a failed bid to assassinate him in the village in 1982. Scores of families from Dujail were rounded up and shunted between jails around Iraq for four years after the attack.