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Saddam Trial Adjourned Until Wednesday


The judge hearing the case against former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and seven co-defendants has adjourned the trial until Wednesday.

Prosecutors presented experts Monday, who confirmed the authenticity of Saddam's signature on documents connected to a crackdown on Shi'ites in the 1980's. Defense lawyers immediately disputed the experts' results.

Chief judge Raouf Abdel Rahman said an adjournment was needed to allow more time to examine the handwriting.

Saddam and his co-defendants are being tried for the 1982 killing of more than 140 Shi'ites in the Iraqi village of Dujail. They face death by hanging if found guilty of the killings.

On the political front, a long-awaited Iraqi legislative session set for Monday has been delayed by a continuing impasse over who will head the next government.

Talks among Sunni Arab, Kurdish and Shi'ite negotiators have been deadlocked since December over Sunni and Kurdish demands that Shi'ites replace Ibrahim al-Jaafari as their nominee for prime minister.

In another development, officials say police have found the body of the brother of a top Sunni Arab politician. Interior Ministry officials say Taha al-Mutlaq went missing three weeks ago. Police say he had been shot in the head.

Officials also say Iraqi soldiers and insurgents clashed early today in the mostly Sunni Arab neighborhood of Azamiyah in northern Baghdad. Residents and hospital officials say there were casualties, but how many was not immediately clear.

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