BAGHDAD, Iraq, AP – Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein complained that he has not been allowed sufficient access to his lawyer in a new tape aired on Thursday by an Arabic satellite television station.
The footage, broadcast by Dubai-based Al Arabiya, showed the ousted leader complaining to Judge Munir Haddad about only getting to see his lawyer when he is being questioned by investigative judges.
"The lawyer only sees his client when there is an investigation session. Is this the law?" Saddam asked.
Though video showing the former Iraqi leader has been released in the past, this was the first time he has been seen since the Iraqi Special Tribunal filed its first criminal case against him on Sunday.
Saddam and three other top officials are accused of involvement in the July 1982 massacre of an estimated 150 Shiites in the town of Dujail, in retaliation for a failed assassination attempt on the Sunni leader.
The former president, who was captured by U.S. troops in December 2003, was expected to be charged with at least 13 crimes for which he could face the death penalty. No trial date has been set.
In addition to the Dujail massacre, the cases include the 1987-88 campaign to drive Iraqi Kurds from wide areas of the north and the brutal repression of the Shiite revolt in the south after U.S.-led forces drove Iraqi invaders from Kuwait in 1991.
It was unclear when the film was taken but Saddam is shown being questioned about the case of Iraqi Shiite Kurds, whose property he confiscated during the early 1980s. He deported many of them to Iran during that time.
In the video, Saddam is seen sitting on a chair, and at one point, wearing glasses and taking notes. A man who appears to be his lawyer sat beside him.
Wearing a dark blue suit and a white shirt, Saddam complained that when he greeted the judges, he got no response.
"When someone like me says ”Peace be upon you,” and no one responds, then this is a big insult for someone like Saddam Hussein," he said.
Saddam also said his arrest and detention by the Iraqi government was a joke, since the Americans were the ones with power.
"I am under detention. This is what is being said. It is a game," he told the judge, in an apparent reference to being held at a U.S. military base.
"No. God willing, no," Haddad said.