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Kurdish Witness Testifies at Saddam Trial on Poison Gas Attack


A former Kurdish guerrilla testified at the trial of Saddam Hussein Monday that Iraqi forces attacked his village with poison gas during a campaign against the Kurds in the late 1980s.

The witness, Karawan Abdellah Tawfiq, told the court in Baghdad that he lost consciousness and awoke some months later in a hospital in Iran. He said he went blind for six months. The witness took off his glasses to show his swollen and bloodshot eyes to the court.

The former Iraqi president interrupted the proceedings to tell the court that the witness is not an Iraqi and his testimony should be discounted. The man sought asylum in the Netherlands in the 1990s.

Saddam and six co-defendants are accused of orchestrating the "Anfal" military campaign, which prosecutors say killed about 180,000 Kurds in northern Iraq in 1987 and 1988.

The witness testified as the trial of the former Iraqi leader resumed after a three-day break.

The presiding judge in the trial, Abdullah al-Amiri, sparked controversy last week when he engaged in several friendly exchanges with Saddam. At one point, the judge told Saddam he was not a dictator, and Saddam thanked the judge for the comment.

The prosecution has accused the judge of bias toward Saddam. But the judge says he is trying to be fair to both sides.

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

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