Verdict in Saddam trial not expected on Oct. 16

A verdict in the first trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein will not be issued on Oct. 16 as scheduled, and the judges are considering whether to recall some witnesses, a court spokesman said Tuesday.

The court is due to convene Oct. 16 for the first time since it adjourned July 27 to allow the five-judge panel to consider their verdicts against Saddam and seven co-defendants on charges of crimes against humanity for a crackdown against Shiites in the 1980s.

But court spokesman Raid Juhi said the Oct. 16 session "will not be for the verdict. It's for the judges' review of the evidence." Juhi said he could not say when the verdict would be issued.

The judges have been reviewing the evidence and testimony from the 9-month trial "whether it is complete or is lacking," Juhi told the Associated Press.

If they decide it is lacking, they could call back witnesses or review other evidence. Juhi would not say whether he believed this would likely happen. "It is up to the judges to issue a decision on this," he said.

Saddam and his co-defendants face possible execution by hanging if found guilty in the charges, connected to a crackdown on Shiites in the town of Dujail launched in 1982.