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Woman witness weeps as she recalls beatings, torture in fourth day of Saddam''s trial - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A testimony is being given in a sealed witness box during proceedings at Saddam's trial held under tight security in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, December 6, 2005 (REUTERS)

A testimony is being given in a sealed witness box during proceedings at Saddam’s trial held under tight security in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, December 6, 2005 (REUTERS)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – A woman witness, testifying Tuesday from behind a screen and her voice disguised to protect her identity, told of beatings and abuse at the hands of Saddam Hussein”s agents in the trial of the former president and seven lieutenants.

Saddam sat stone-faced as the woman, known only as &#34Witness A,&#34 testified how she was taken into custody after the 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam in the town of Dujail.

Wadah al-Sheik, an Iraqi intelligence officer who died of cancer last month, ordered her to take off her clothes, she said, testifying from behind a light blue cloth curtain.

&#34Then he fired a shot at the wall and I thought it is real. But it turned to be sound bullet. I was forced to take off my clothes, and he raised my legs up and tied up my hands. He continued administering electric shocks and beating me,&#34 she said.

Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin told the court that defense attorneys would be told the identity of the witness but they must not pass them to anyone outside the tribunal.

Witnesses have the option of not having their identities revealed as a security measure to protect them against reprisals by Saddam loyalists. The first two witnesses, both males who took the stand Monday, allowed their names to be announced and their pictures to be transmitted around the world.

When the witness began to speak, defense attorneys complained they could not hear her because her voice was being distorted to protect her identity. The judge then ordered the voice modulator to be shut off — allowing defense counsel to hear her natural voice.

But people in the visitors” gallery and the press viewing area could not her any of her testimony.

The judge ordered a brief recess during which the equipment was repaired and the woman began testifying.

The witness said she was 16 at the time of the Dujail incidemt. She broke down and cried several times during her testimony, strongly suggsting that she had been raped although she did not say so outright.

When the judge later asked her about the &#34assault,&#34 she said &#34I was beaten up and tortured by electrical shocks.&#34 However, she repeated that she had been ordered to undress.

&#34I begged them, but they hit with their pistols,&#34 she said. &#34They made me put my legs up. There were five or more and they treated me like a banquet. Is that what happens to the virtuous woman that Saddam speaks about?&#34

The judge then advised her to stick to the facts.

She said she was thrown into a room with red walls and ceiling in an intelligence department building and that prisoners were given only bread and water to eat.

&#34I could not even eat because of the torture,&#34 she said. She said prisoners were later moved to Abu Ghraib prison where the toture continued.

Ahmad Hassan Mohammed Al Dujaili testifies in open court as former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein watches from his seat during his trial in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone December 5, 2005 (REUTERS)

Ahmad Hassan Mohammed Al Dujaili testifies in open court as former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein watches from his seat during his trial in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone December 5, 2005 (REUTERS)

Presiding Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin speaks to another judge on the tribunal during the trial of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and seven of his aides held under tight security in Baghdads heavily fortified Green Zone, December 6, 2005 (AP)

Presiding Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin speaks to another judge on the tribunal during the trial of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and seven of his aides held under tight security in Baghdads heavily fortified Green Zone, December 6, 2005 (AP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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