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Saddam Fumes Over Trial Treatment

Saddam Hussein shouted at the court Tuesday that he will not return "to an unjust court" when it convenes for the fifth session the following day.

As the court deliberated whether to reconvene Wednesday, Saddam shouted: "Are you deliberately hauling defendants before the trial when they are exhausted?"

The session disintegrated into a shouting match between defendants and witnesses, reports CBS News correspondent Cami McCormick. Defense attorneys got involved; even the judge was shouting at one point. Saddam stood up and was complaining about not having clean clothes, about having to travel to the courtroom.

"This is terrorism," he said. And his final words to the judge were, "Go to hell."

In other recent developments:

  • Two men strapped with explosives blew themselves up at Baghdad's police academy on Tuesday, killing at least dozens of people and wounding many more, the U.S. military said. Initial reports had said the bombers were women.
  • Al-Jazeera television on Tuesday broadcast an insurgent video that purported to show a kidnapped U.S. security consultant. "In the video, you can see a blond, Western-looking man, sitting down with his hands tied behind his back," reports CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier. "There's a logo from the Islamic Army of Iraq, one of the many insurgent groups operating here. There's also a picture of an American passport, and an Arabic identity card bearing a name in English saying 'Ronald Schultz.'"
  • but what we do is locate them," said President Bush, in a brief session with reporters Tuesday. CBS News correspondent Peter Maer reports the president avoided any mention of Saddam's courtroom outbursts, but said Saddam can make his case and the dictator's alleged victims can have their day in court.
  • If the report about the American abducted is true, the man would become the second American taken hostage in the last two weeks. A U.S. citizen was among four peace activists taken hostage on Nov. 27 by a group calling itself the Swords of Righteousness.
  • A French engineer was taken hostage in Baghdad on Monday and a German aid worker was abducted near Mosul on Nov. 26.
  • Vice President Dick Cheney argued forcefully Tuesday against an early withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, saying that would be "unwise in the extreme" and increase the risk of terrorist attacks in the United States and other nations.

    When Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin said that the session would continue Wednesday, Saddam, shouted: "I will not return. I will not come to an unjust court! Go to Hell."

    The judges seem to have lost control of a trial, reports CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen. Saddam is growing increasingly belligerent in court, defense lawyers for he and his co-defendants are growing increasingly disrespectful of the court's authority, and the judges themselves seem to be increasingly unsure and indecisive about their own rulings and the extent of the law's power, Cohen said.

    Earlier, witnesses testified Tuesday from behind a screen, with their voices disguised to protect their identities.

    One woman was weeping as she told of beatings and electric shocks at the hands of Saddam Hussein's agents in the trial of the former president and seven lieutenants.

    Saddam sat stone-faced, taking notes on a pad of paper, as the woman, known only as "Witness A," told the court how she and dozens of other families from the town of Dujail were arrested in a crackdown after a 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam.

    "I was forced to take off my clothes, and he raised my legs up and tied up my hands. He continued administering electric shocks and beating me," she said of her detention, referring to Wadah al-Sheik, an Iraqi intelligence officer who died of cancer last month.


  • Earlier, Saddam yelled "this is your history" and said "Americans want to execute Saddam and this is not the first time." He also said he wants Americans to know the crimes their government has committed against his country.

    CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk reports Saddam's outbursts in the courtroom are the type of grandstanding that has been seen before in international war tribunals.

    "[They are] designed to galvanize support from his sympathizers in Iraq and used as a diversion from the riveting testimony of victims," Falk said.

    Part of the defense strategy is to put the Coalition and Iraq on trial, reports Dozier, but it seems whenever there is something politically sensitive being raised that the judge has the right to declare a closed session.

    "As the victims from Dujail testify as witnesses, the enormity of the crimes comes to light," said Falk. "Although the legal impact of the witness testimony may be limited, they are part of the prosecution's need to establish the enormity of the atrocities committed against civilians."

    The first woman witness strongly suggested she had been raped, but did not say so outright. When Judge Amin asked her about the "assault," she said: "I was beaten up and tortured by electrical shocks."

    The witness, who was 16 at the time of her arrest, repeated that she had been ordered to undress.

    "I begged them, but they hit with their pistols," she said. "They made me put my legs up. There were five or more, and they treated me like a banquet."

    "Is that what happens to the virtuous woman that Saddam speaks about?" she wept, prompting the judge to advise her to stick to the facts.

    Altogether, three men and two women testified Tuesday.

    Witnesses have the option of not having their identities revealed as a security measure to protect them against reprisals by Saddam loyalists. The first two witnesses — both males who took the stand Monday — allowed their names to be announced and their pictures to be transmitted around the world.

    Saddam and seven co-defendants are on trial for the killing of more than 140 Shiites in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad and could be executed by hanging if convicted.

    "We're probably going to see another long adjournment Wednesday or Thursday because the judge needs to free up security resources for next week's elections," reports Dozier. "As this morning's bombing shows, insurgents are trying to increase attacks before those elections, and every U.S. soldier on the ground, every Iraqi soldier on the ground is going to be needed to keep things safe for the polls."

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