Saddam Hussein's lawyers urge Iraqis to reject his genocide trial

Saddam Hussein's lawyers urged Iraqis on Thursday to reject their ex-president's genocide trial, accusing the court of bias against him.

"We call upon the public opinion... to stop this farce after (the Iraqi court) intentionally prejudiced the feelings of Iraqis, Arabs and all good people by repeatedly trying to offend the dignity of President Saddam and his comrades," the lawyers said in an English statement issued Thursday.

The statement did not say whether Saddam's nine lawyers would continue to boycott the trial. They walked out of the courtroom last Monday to protest alleged violations of judicial procedures and the removal of the original chief judge, Abdullah al-Amiri.

Al-Amiri who was replaced last week by his deputy, Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa was accused of being too soft on the former president, reports AP.

Al-Khalifa appointed replacement lawyers so the trial could continue. But Saddam rejected them in a chaotic session two days ago that saw the chief judge ejecting the deposed leader and his six co-defendants before adjourning the hearing until Oct. 9.

The new judge said he wanted to give the defendants time to persuade their original lawyers to end the boycott, or to confer with their new attorneys.

The trial, Saddam's second, began Aug. 21. The former president and six co-defendants face genocide charges for their roles in a bloody crackdown against Kurdish rebels in the late 1980s.

The defendants could face the death penalty if convicted.