In one of his frequent outbursts during his trial, former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein on Thursday said the Bush administration lied when it claimed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, as well as when it disputed his claims of being beaten."The White House lies once more," Hussein said. "The number-one liar in the world, they said in Iraq, there is chemicals, and there is a relation to terrorism, and they announced later we couldn't find any of that in Iraq.
"Also, they said that what Saddam Hussein (said) was not true," he said, adding, in an apparent reference to his claims Wednesday that he and all seven of his co-defendants were beaten and tortured by their American captors, "I have documented the injuries I had before three American medical teams."Hussein later appeared to waver, saying the medical teams numbered "two, for sure, unequivocally." He began to heal after eight months, he said, but bruises remain three years later.
"We don't lie," he said. "The White House lies."The U.S. State Department and a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said Hussein's claims of beatings and torture were untrue.Meanwhile, defense attorneys requested that the testimony of prosecution witnesses not be broadcast until all the witnesses have testified, saying the witnesses are watching each other's testimonies and repeating them. The court said it would consider that request.
Hussein and his co-defendants are charged with crimes against humanity, including the killings of 140 males in the town of Dujail following a failed 1982 assassination attempt against Hussein there.Hussein's outburst followed a complaint about the validity of a witness who testified Thursday from behind a curtain to protect his identity. The witness said he was 8 years old at the time of the Dujail killings, but testified his father, his three uncles and his grandmother were arrested and imprisoned.
"She complained to us about what had happened to her," he said of his grandmother, who was released after four years. "They used to torture her before her children and they would torture her children before her. She said, 'They tortured us, and we did not know for what reason.'"Defense attorneys and Hussein complained about the witness because he was a child at the time, was not arrested and did not see any torture or killings personally.
"His testimony is documented and accepted, and he's underage (at the time)?" Hussein asked. "This is something I would like to understand. Is this allowed? Is this permissible?"Saddam's half-brother and co-defendant, Barzan Hassan al-Tikriti, also launched a lengthy tirade against the court and the proceedings.
"This is not justice," he said. "This is not democracy."Asked to stop by prosecutors, al-Tikriti said, "My talk is strengthening the court, and will give it credibility."A fracas between defendants and prosecutors then ensued, prompted by Hussein's claim that a guard had been rude to him and al-Tikrit accusing prosecutors of being former Baath Party members. The prosecutors threatened to walk out and resign from the case, demanding to have Hussein expelled from the courtroom.
Meanwhile, Hussein suggested to presiding Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin that a prosecutor "acted without your orders, so he should be disciplined. He is a small employee."Somehow, Amin managed to get everyone settled down in time for another witness to begin testifying.On Wednesday, Hussein said his American captors beat him "on every part of my body and marks are still on top of my body and that was done by Americans," Hussein said. " Yes, we were beaten by the Americans, and we were tortured, everyone of us."
Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Mousawi said he had visited the defendants in their cells and saw no signs of torture.Christopher Reid, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, said none of the defendants has been tortured or beaten."I can tell you, these people are living in conditions as good as the soldiers who are guarding them," he said. He added that the allegations will be investigated, "but from my position, such claims are bogus."
Also on Wednesday, witness Ali Haj Hussein al-Haydari, 37, 14 at the time of the attempt on Hussein's life, described more than four years of captivity and torture, and the execution of family members, including several brothers. His brother Hassan, who was among those killed, was one of six men who planned to kill Hussein that day, according to al-Haydari, reports the AP. I.L.