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Hussein: White House 'No. 1 liar in the world'

After day of outbursts, the trial adjourns until January


Saddam Hussein

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The trial of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, which has fallen into a pattern of grim testimony interrupted by theatrical outbursts, adjourned Thursday for more than a month.

The trial resumes on January 24.

On Thursday, as in previous days, testimony about brutal treatment was interrupted by courtroom tirades by Hussein and his half brother.

Hussein charged Thursday that the Bush administration lied when it claimed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, just at it lied by disputing his claims of being beaten.

"The White House lies once more," Hussein said, "the No. 1 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 continued in an apparent reference to his claims Wednesday that he and all seven of his codefendants were beaten and tortured by their American captors.

Hussein: 'We don't lie'

"I have documented the injuries I had before three American medical teams," he said.

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 they are watching each other's testimonies and repeating them. The court said it would consider that request.

A day of disruptions

Hussein and seven codefendants are charged with crimes against humanity, including the killings of 140 men and boys in the town of Dujail following a failed 1982 assassination attempt against Hussein there.

The trial went into a closed session Thursday at the end of an eventful day in which Hussein and his half brother, Barzan Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti repeatedly disrupted the proceedings.

The judge closed the session after Hassan, the former chief of intelligence, asked to speak to him in private. On Wednesday, Hassan said he wanted time to talk to the judge about his health.

Earlier in the day, Hassan launched into long political diatribes, hurling insults at prosecutors, complaining about the conditions of their detention and challenging the legitimacy of the court.

Ranting about the food he is being served, Hassan said a New York Times magazine column mentioned that his ribs are showing because of weight loss.

Hassan also accused prosecutors of being former Baath Party members, implying they should not be leveling accusations against him. The attorneys threatened to walk out and resign from the case.

"This is not justice," Hassan declared. "This is not democracy." Asked to stop by prosecutors, Hassan said, "My talk is strengthening the court, and will give it credibility."

Courtroom fracas

At one point, a fracas erupted among Hassan, Hussein and prosecutors, prompted by Hussein's claim that a guard had been rude to him. "He acted without your orders, so he should be disciplined," Hussein said. "He is a small employee." The guard was removed from the courtroom.

Hussein also challenged the validity of a witness, the first of two to testify 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?"

Hussein claims he was beaten

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." (Watch Hussein's claim of beatings -- 1:37)

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.

Also on Wednesday, witness Ali Haj Hussein al-Haydari 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 plotted unsuccessfully to assassinate Hussein.

More than 40 members of his family were taken into custody by government agents. Al-Haydari also talked of "walking through dead bodies" at the headquarters of the Baath Party, the ruling party during Hussein's regime. (Witness recounts seeing abuse, death -- 14:51)

Another witness said he was tortured three times with electric shocks during the initial 17-day period and beaten with cables during the time at Abu Ghraib.

"Even children were beaten with cables," he said. "Children died at Abu Ghraib."

CNN's Aneesh Raman contributed to this report

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