Saddam 'attacked by court employees'

Iraqi court officials today denied reports that two court employees attacked Saddam Hussein and punched him several times after he cursed two Shiite Islam saints.

Iraqi court officials today denied reports that two court employees attacked Saddam Hussein and punched him several times after he cursed two Shiite Islam saints.

Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Mousawi said "no one in the court attacked Saddam or punished him and we will never allow anyone in the court to harm any of the defendants, whether it is Saddam or someone else."

"I never heard that Saddam Hussein insulted Imam Hussein or Imam Abbas during the investigation," he added.

Efforts to contact Saddam's attorneys were unsuccessful.

Last night Iraqiya television quoted "sources close to investigative judges" when reporting that Saddam had been assaulted.

Iraqi TV reported that Saddam had insulted Imam Hussein and his brother Imam Abbas, two Shiite saints, provoking two of the court's clerks.

Saddam's lawyers said in July that their client was attacked during an interrogation session.

The chief investigative judge of the special court dealing with Saddam denied the claims at the time.

Al-Mousawi said the only incident he was aware of involved court guards.

"Some two months ago, when the investigative judge ended his work, Saddam remained sitting on his chair then started using the place as a podium for political statements. This happened when he saw a camera shooting him," he said.

The judge told Saddam that this comments had nothing to do with the questioning and "at that point two policemen held him, took him from the chair and took him outside the room."

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