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Saddam Says He Ordered Some Reprisals After Assassination Attempt


Iraq's ousted president Saddam Hussein has acknowledged that he ordered the trial of Shi'ite villagers who eventually were executed after an attempt on his life.

Saddam told a Baghdad court Wednesday, that he also ordered the confiscation of farmlands belonging to those villagers.

Saddam is accused of having ordered the murder of more than 140 villagers, including children, from the town of Dujail. He told the court Wednesday that he ordered the trials and confiscations because of the 1982 assassination attempt.

He said it was the right of the state to confiscate the land of those responsible for the attempt. He asked the court, "Where is the crime?"

On Tuesday, the chief prosecutor showed government documents concerning the crackdown on Dujail, including a document signed by Saddam approving the death sentences of the villagers.

Saddam did not address the evidence in his comments Wednesday.

In a speech to the court, he said that his seven co-defendants should be set free.

Saddam said he had been in charge of Iraq's government and therefore should stand trial alone.

The crackdown on Shi'ites from Dujail occurred after villagers attacked Saddam's motorcade as it passed through the town.

The ousted leader and his co-defendants, former officials in his government, face death if convicted.

Their trial is due to resume on March 12.

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

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