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Hussein lawyer walks out of trial

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Following a brief appearance before the court, Saddam Hussein's chief defense lawyer has again walked out after chief judge Mohammed al-Ureybi refused to grant the attorney's list of demands.

Hussein and his co-defendants are accused of crimes against humanity stemming from a 1988 crackdown on Kurdish guerrillas, dubbed the Anfal campaign.

The prosecution says about 180,000 people, most of them civilians, died in attacks that included the use of poison gas against Kurdish towns and villages in northern Iraq.

Hussein and Ali Hassan Majeed, also known as "Chemical Ali," face additional genocide charges.

The defense team in the Anfal trial began its boycott on September 20 when the Iraqi government removed chief judge Abdullah al-Almiri, following his comment in court that Hussein was not a dictator.

That comment was deemed to be sympathetic to the defendant and the government ruled that al-Almiri could no longer be considered impartial.

On Monday, defense lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi again stated his list of demands for the court, to which Al-Ureybi said the court had already ruled against under his predecessor, al-Almiri.

Dulaimi and a privately retained defense lawyer then walked out, less than an hour into Monday's session. They were immediately replaced by court appointed defense attorneys.

Hussein and seven other co-defendants also face a verdict in the Dujail case, expected to be announced on Sunday.

That case involves actions by Iraqi authorities during a crackdown in the town of Dujail that followed an assassination attempt against Hussein.

Hussein and al-Dulaimi each recently wrote letters accusing U.S. President George W. Bush of scheduling the Dujail verdicts so they would influence U.S. midterm congressional elections, which will take place two days after the verdicts are announced.

U.S. ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad dismissed the charge, saying the United States was not involved in court decisions.

In addition to breaking their boycott of the Anfal trial on Monday, the defense team will end its boycott of the Dujail trial and plan to be back in court for the announcement of the verdicts on November 5, al-Dulaimi said.

Al-Dulaimi has said that if Hussein is condemned to death in the Dujail trial, it could provoke civil war in Iraq and unrest throughout the Middle East. (Full story)


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Saddam Hussein is expected to face a verdict November 5.

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