Saddam Hussein's trial adjourns for a week

Nov. 28, 2005 at 7:55 AM
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BAGHDAD, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The massacre trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein opened in Baghdad Monday, but was adjourned for a week to find replacement defense lawyers.

Saddam was the last of eight accused to enter the courtroom where he began complaining he had to walk up four flights of stairs because of a broken elevator, and that guards had confiscated his pen and paper.

The men are accused in the slayings of more than 140 men in the town of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in 1982 after an unsuccessful assassination attempt against Saddam. All eight have pleaded not guilty to the charges, the BBC said.

The trial began Oct. 19 but was postponed for 40 days to give the defense more time to prepare. Now, Saddam's defense attorneys say they need more time and other defense lawyers need to be found to replace two who were gunned down, CBS News reported.

The identities of four of the five trial judges have been kept secret, and some of the 35 witnesses may testify behind curtains to protect them from reprisals.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, a civil rights advocate and outspoken critic of the trial, was seated with the defense team, CNN reported.

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