Saddam and lawyers to boycott trial after 'assault' on ex-dictator

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The Independent Online

Khalil Dulaimi said his client did not fear death if he was convicted and described the prosecutors and judges as "American puppets". The US military, which guards Saddam during his court appearances, say they were "puzzled" by the lawyer's comments as no attack had taken place.

Mr Dulaimi said a man called Tahseen, whom he believed was a reserve investigative judge, grabbed Saddam's arm and tried to assault him, but the scuffle was broken up by onlookers.Other members of the defence team claimed that Saddam had exchanged blows with his attacker.

Speaking at his Baghdad office, Mr Dulaimi said: "As Saddam Hussein's lawyer, and on behalf of all the defence team, we announce the boycott of the Iraqi Special Tribunal until they make a formal apology for the incident and the person who committed that disgraceful act is brought to justice. Saddam doesn't fear death. He wishes for a fair and just trial. The president is totally isolated from the world. He lives in an American prison. He spends his time reading books and writing poetry and reading legal books and the Koran."

The US military insists that no such incident ever took place. Officials from the special tribunal were not available for comment.

Mr Dulaimi called on American forces holding Saddam to do more to protect him because "Iraq is not a safe place to hold the president and his aides".

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