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Saddam Attends Genocide Trial Despite Boycott Threat


Saddam Hussein appeared at his genocide trial Wednesday, despite threatening to boycott the court because he said he was being prevented from explaining his case.

The former Iraqi leader heard testimony in Baghdad from a Kurdish doctor who says he treated victims of poison gas attacks. The doctor says Iraqi forces repeatedly used chemical weapons against Kurds in the late 1980s.

Saddam and his six co-defendants are charged with genocide and crimes against humanity for the 1988 military campaign against Kurds in northern Iraq.

In a handwritten statement Tuesday, Saddam accused the judge of barring him and his lawyers from speaking during parts of the trial. He asked to be relieved of attending what he called "this new comedy of trial."

The trial has adjourned until Thursday.

Prosecutors say 180,000 Kurds were killed in the campaign code-named Operation Anfal.

In a separate trial, Saddam was sentenced to death for ordering the execution of 148 men and boys from the Shi'ite town of Dujail after an assassination attempt against him in 1982.

Defense lawyers have appealed that ruling.

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