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Saddam boycotts trial

BAGHDAD: Saddam Hussein and four other defendants refused to attend at a new session of their trial on Wednesday and their lawyers boycotted the proceedings, demanding the removal of the chief judge, who they claim is biased against the former Iraqi leader. Chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman pressed ahead with the proceedings with court-appointed defence lawyers and only three defendants present, hearing five prosecution witnesses. One witness, a woman, testified that she was arrested by Mr. Hussein's security forces and tortured in prison. She said she was stripped naked, hung by her feet and kicked repeatedly in the chest by Barzan Ibrahim, Mr. Hussein's intelligence chief at the time and the top co-defendant in the trial. ``What crime have we all committed to go through this agony?'' she said. — AP

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