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Saddam Hussein Defiant During Opening of Second Trial


21 August 2006

Saddam Hussein has entered his second trial on charges of genocide that stem from a violent campaign against minority Kurds nearly two decades ago.

The former Iraqi leader was defiant in the Baghdad courtroom Monday, refusing to state his name or enter a plea of innocence or guilt. The chief judge, Abdullah Ali al-Aloosh, entered a plea of not guilty for him.

Saddam and his six co-defendants are charged in connection with Operation Anfal, an Iraqi military campaign that killed about 100,000 Kurds between

1987 and 1988. The slaughter began after Kurds were accused of aiding Iran during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The chief prosecutor told the court Monday, elderly people, women and children were sent to detention "not because they committed crimes but because they were Kurds."

Anfal survivors say entire Kurdish areas in northern Iraq were razed during the campaign of retaliation. They say prohibited chemical agents were used, and thousands of young Kurdish men disappeared.

Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, is also being tried for his part in the campaign. He became known as "Chemical Ali" for allegedly ordering poison gas attacks against the Kurds.

Saddam is awaiting a verdict from his first trial, which began last year. He could face a death sentence if found guilty of ordering the killing of nearly 150 villagers following an assassination attempt against him. The verdict is expected in mid-October.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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