Saddam Tells Court to Go to Hell
Saddam Hussein vowed not to return to his trial and told the court to “Go to hell.”
Saddam Hussein shouted Tuesday that he will not return “to an unjust court” when it convenes for a fifth session the following day. As the end of the session, when the judges decided to resume the trial Wednesday, Saddam suddenly shouted: “I will not return. I will not come to an unjust court! Go to hell!”
Saddam also complained that he had no fresh clothes and had been deprived of shower and exercise facilities. “This is terrorism,” he said.
At that point, the audio was cut off to the media gallery and the curtain drawn so reporters could not tell what transpired afterward. It was not clear if the court would compel Saddam to attend.
Iraqi lawyer Bassem al-Khalili told The Associated Press that Saddam has no right to boycott the session and that “a court can bring a defendant by force to the court according to Iraqi law.”
The trial has entertainment value, I’ll give it that. Of course, it’s only entertaining if we focus on Saddam’s courtroom antics and the circus surrounding it rather than the facts of the case.
Saddam’s latest in-court outburst came after a day of testimony in which a woman testified that she had been abused and tortured by Saddam’s agents. Her voice disguised but her weeping still apparent, the woman testified from behind a screen that she suffered beatings and electric shocks by the former president’s agents. Saddam sat stone-faced, silently taking notes as the woman, known only as “Witness A,” told the court how she and dozens of other families from the town of Dujail were arrested in a crackdown after a 1982 assassination attempt against him.
Two other witnesses Ã¢€” a man and a woman Ã¢€” also testified Tuesday, all with their identities concealed. “I was forced to take off my clothes, and he raised my legs up and tied up my hands. He continued administering electric shocks and whipping me and telling me to speak,” Witness A said of Wadah al-Sheik, an Iraqi intelligence officer who died of cancer last month. Several times, the woman Ã¢€” hidden behind a light blue curtain Ã¢€” broke down. “God is great. Oh, my Lord!” she moaned, her voice electronically deepened and distorted. She strongly suggested she had been raped, but did not say so outright. When Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin asked her about the “assault,” she said: “I was beaten up and tortured by electrical shocks.”
The witness, who was 16 at the time of her arrest, repeated that she had been ordered to undress. “They made me put my legs up. There were more than one of them, as if I were their banquet, maybe more than five people, all of them officers,” she said. “Is that what happens to the virtuous woman that Saddam speaks about?” she wept, prompting the judge to advise her to stick to the facts.
She also said al-Sheik fired a gun at the wall to scare her. When asked by the judge which of the defendants she wanted to accuse, “Witness A” identified Saddam. “When so many people are jailed and tortured, who takes such a decision?” she said. She later quoted a security officer as telling her, “You should thank your God because you are here in the Intelligence Center. If you were in the directorate of security, no woman would remain virgin.” Nevertheless, she also said that many fellow female detainees lost their virginity to security guards.
Saddam and the others are on trial for the killing of more than 140 Shiites in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad and could be executed by hanging if convicted. The crackdown followed an assassination attempt, which Saddam told the court Tuesday was ordered by Iran.
Ed Morrissey adds,
Now people can see Saddam for what he is, not just through the testimony but from his own actions in court. It is this man’s rule — the tortures, rapes, wholesale murders, and grinders for the broken bodies of his real and perceived enemies — which some people still think would have been better to allow to continue than to give the Iraqis a chance at freedom and liberty.
While there is legitimate debate about whether removing Saddam from power was worth the heavy price paid, there’s none that his rein was a horror. Ironically, he isn’t even on trial for his most aggregious attrocities, the gassing of the Kurds in 1988.
And this is a man who thinks having only one suit to wear to court is “terrorism.”