Saddam’s own video may be key to trial

SADDAM HUSSEIN’S trial is be shown a video shot by his own photographer as a crucial piece of evidence against the former dictator.

The Dubai-based Al-Arabiya channel said it obtained footage the prosecutor referred to in court as evidence. It shows Saddam addressing cheering crowds in Dujail after the alleged assassination attempt, vowing to bring in the conspirators and interrogate them.

Prosecutors say it shows Saddam interrogating four residents of the town of Dujail after a purported attempt on his life. Later, 148 people were killed there, allegedly in retaliation.

Other pending cases against Saddam involve more notorious atrocities with far more deaths, such as the Anfal Offensive that killed 180,000 Kurds or a gas attack on the town of Halabja that killed 5,000.

But prosecutors say they brought the Dujail case first, because they had more solid, easy-to-gather evidence.

"They won't be more than two, three, four, five or ten, but the people of Dujail, 39,000, are all faithful... the traitors are only a minority in Dujail," Saddam, dressed in military fatigues, said. His voice was drowned out by cheers from the crowd and chants of "We sacrifice our soul and blood for you, Saddam."

He is later seen talking to four men, held by the arms by security forces, apparently those accused of being involved in the attack.

Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Mousawi has outlined the case against Saddam and seven members of his former regime, saying Saddam was closely involved in planning the killings.

The prosecutor maintained he has official documents, the video and witnesses to back his account of the events. The defendants pleaded not guilty.

Saddam said videotapes should not be admissible as evidence, insisting they can be altered and faked. The judge did not respond.

Mr al-Mousawi said about a dozen bullets were fired from an automatic rifle into the air and not at Saddam's motorcade, as commonly believed.

Some 399 people were later detained in a desert detention camp. When intelligence investigators returned from Dujail, they started questioning 148 suspects.

Among the 148 people were 46 Mr al-Mousawi maintains died during interrogations.

He said they received death sentences within hours.

Saddam later pardoned hundreds detained in the desert camp. They returned to Dujail to find lands destroyed, homes demolished and loved ones missing. The trial has been adjourned until November 28.

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