BAGHDAD, Iraq,AP – The trial of Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants on charges torture and murder resumed Sunday, with the judge calling in each defendant individually to testify.
It was the first session since March 1 when Saddam boldly acknowledged that he ordered the trial of 148 Shiite who were eventually executed. The former Iraqi leader insisted his actions were not a crime since the Shiites were suspected in the attempt on his life.
The session began with defendant Mizhar Abdullah Ruwayyid, allegedly a low level official from Saddam’s former ruling Baath Party, called before the judge. He and chief justice Raouf Abdel-Rahman began arguing.
Before the session, court officials said they would bring each defendant out to present his testimony. It was not clear whether they would be questioned by prosecutors.
Saddam and his seven co-defendants are on trial for illegal imprisonment and torture and the executions of the 148 Shiites in a crackdown launched after a 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam in the town of Dujail.