Iraqi judge rules Saddam may testify on behalf of co-defendant

[JURIST] Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman [BBC profile] ruled Wednesday that Saddam Hussein will be permitted to testify [AP report] on behalf of a co-defendant when his trial [JURIST news archive] before the Iraqi High Criminal Court resumes on Monday. Abdel-Rahman said that defense lawyers can ask Hussein questions about the involvement of Taha Yassin Ramadan [Trial Watch profile] in the deaths of nine villagers, torture of women and children, razing of farmlands, and arrests of nearly 400 Dujail residents in 1982. If Hussein takes the stand, the prosecution will be given an opportunity to cross-examine him, but their questions will be limited to Ramadan's involvement. Barzan Ibrahim [Trial Watch profile], Hussein's former intelligence chief, will also be allowed to take the stand in Ramadan's defense.

Abdel-Rahman also permitted Saddam Hussein and all seven co-defendants to remain in the courtroom on Wednesday while defense witnesses testified on behalf of two of the defendants. The judge had previously barred the defendants from the courtroom if the testimony did not apply to them, but reversed his decision in case any of the defendants are mentioned by the witnesses. The trial now stands adjourned until May 22. AP has more.

 

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