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Defense Lawyer Ejected from Saddam's Genocide Trial


The chief judge in the genocide trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has ejected a defense lawyer from the court and ordered him detained for 24 hours.

The judge, Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, took the action against Badie Aref Wednesday for "insulting the court" after ignoring a warning to stop using the word "brother" to address prosecutors.

The judge allowed the lawyer to return, but then he soon left without explanation.

Saddam and six co-defendants are on trial for their alleged roles in the military campaign against ethnic Kurds in the late 1980s in which prosecutors say up to 180,000 people were killed.

The court Wednesday heard the second day of testimony from forensic and medical experts.

An American forensic expert, Douglas Scott, said bullets and cartridge cases found among bodies in a mass grave indicate the victims were killed by firing squad. A doctor, Asfandiar Shukri, told the court that examinations of Kurdish refugees in 1991 showed that mustard gas had been used on them.

Saddam has already been sentenced to death for the 1982 killing of 148 Shi'ite men in the village of Dujail. But the U.N. Human Rights Council's working group on arbitrary detention has said that trial fell short of international standards, and the death sentence should not be carried out.

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