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Saddam Hussein Defiant During Opening of Second Trial


The second trial of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein opened Monday in Baghdad on charges of genocide for a violent campaign against minority Kurds nearly two decades ago.

A defiant Saddam refused to state his name or enter a plea to the charges. The chief judge entered a plea of not guilty for him.

Saddam and his six co-defendants are charged in connection with Operation Anfal, an Iraqi military campaign that prosecutors said killed more than 180,000 Kurds in 1987 and 1988. The slaughter began after Kurds were accused of aiding Iran during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

Among Saddam's co-defendants is Ali Hassan al-Majid, who became known as "Chemical Ali" for allegedly ordering poison gas attacks against the Kurds.

Saddam erupted in anger during the proceedings when the prosecutor said Kurdish women were raped in prison during the campaign.

Anfal survivors say entire Kurdish areas in northern Iraq were razed during the campaign of retaliation. They say prohibited chemical agents were used, and thousands of young Kurdish men disappeared.

Saddam is awaiting a verdict from his first trial, which began last year. He could face a death sentence if found guilty of ordering the killing of nearly 150 Shi'ite villagers following an assassination attempt against him. The verdict is expected in mid-October.

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

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