Lawyer retracts Saddam hunger strike claim

The chief lawyer representing Saddam Hussein said today he was wrong in reporting that the former Iraqi leader and seven co-defendants would begin a hunger strike to protest the “illegality” of the court hearing their case.

Khalil al-Dulaimi had initially reported that the fast was to begin on Monday.

“I checked and I was told that the sources were not credible and that there will be no hunger strike on Monday,” al-Dulaimi told The Associated Press.

He declined to provide other details, saying he will issue a written statement later.

The lawyer said he received the information through sources at the ”detention centre” where Saddam and the other defendants are being held.

Correcting his remarks, al-Dulaimi insisted that all eight defendants, including Saddam, still would boycott the resumption of their trial tomorrow in Baghdad.

Saddam’s defence team walked out of the trial in a stormy January 29 session and has refused to participate unless the chief judge, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, is dismissed, alleging he is biased against the deposed Iraqi leader.

Abdel-Rahman appointed new defence lawyers and the trial continued in absence of the defendants and their defence team in two sessions before adjourning until tomorrow.

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