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Trial Resumes in Iraq for Saddam Co-Defendants


The trial for men accused of carrying out Saddam Hussein's brutal campaign against the Kurds in the 1980s has resumed in Baghdad. Prosecutors are pressing ahead even though the chief defendant, Saddam Hussein, has been executed for other crimes. VOA's Jim Randle reports from northern Iraq.

Prosecutors said Saddam Hussein ordered chemical weapons used on Kurds in the 1980s, and they played a tape in court that they said was the voice of Saddam discussing poison gas attacks with Hassan al-Majeed, the man known as Chemical Ali.

Al-Majeed was Saddam's cousin, and in an angry exchange with the judge he later said the trial was a politically-motivated injustice.

The defendants were key members of Saddam's ruling Baath Party and are accused of running the Anfal campaign that used chemical weapons and other means to kill an estimated 180,000 Kurds.

The accused say the campaign was a legitimate military operation against Kurd guerillas who sided with Iran during the Iran-Iraq war.

As the trial resumed, the chief judge said the court has stopped all legal action against executed former president Saddam Hussein. At the end of the day, he adjourned the trial of the other defendants until January 11.

Meanwhile, sectarian violence continued in Iraq, including an attack on a bus carrying mostly Shi'ite Muslims to work at the airport. Many of the passengers were killed or wounded.

The continuing violence is the reason President Bush is expected to announce a revised strategy for Iraq later this week. It is likely to include sending more U.S. troops to Baghdad. The proposal is getting a variety of reactions in Iraq.

This Baghdad resident tells a journalist the new plan might bring some stability to the city, and perhaps work better than previous efforts.

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