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Verdict in Saddam Trial Due in November


Court officials in Baghdad say a verdict in the first trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein likely will be announced November 5.

In the first case, Saddam is charged with crimes against humanity, including murder and torture, in connection with the killing of 148 Shi'ites in 1982. The former president faces the death penalty if convicted.

Iraqi court officials said Monday the verdict for Saddam's seven co-defendants should be delivered the same day. The co-defendants are also charged with crimes against humanity.

Saddam and six co-defendants are also facing separate charges of genocide in connection with a 1980s campaign against Iraqi Kurds.

Officials say that Monday, the brother of the top prosecutor handling the second case was shot and killed in West Baghdad.

The killing is the second attack on family members of individuals involved in the trial in less than a month. In late September, the brother-in-law of the chief judge in the trial, Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, was gunned down.

The trial process has been bumpy on other fronts as well. The chief judge in the second trial has ejected Saddam from the courtroom on several occasions because of the former leader's unruly behavior.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for the former leader has released a letter from Saddam in which he calls on insurgents to continue resisting what he called "occupiers" but he also says the goal should not be a settling of accounts, apparently referring to sectarian violence plaguing Iraq.

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

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