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Saddam half-brother dragged out of courtroom

Written by: Staff
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BAGHDAD, June 12 (Reuters) Guards at Saddam Hussein's trial dragged his co-accused half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti out of the courtroom today after an angry argument with the chief judge, a Reuters reporter said.

Chief Judge Raouf Abdel Rahman ordered that Barzan leave the courtroom after he repeatedly interrupted him. Defence lawyers protested against the treatment of Barzan, accusing the guards of beating him.

Saddam, Barzan and six other defendants are accused of crimes against humanity for reprisals that led to the killing of 148 Shi'ite Muslim men after an assassination attempt on Saddam in 1982.

At the trial's previous session a week ago, the defence team sought to undermine the prosecution case by saying that 10 people out of those said to have been killed after the attempt on Saddam's life were still alive 24 years later.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty or, like Saddam, were ruled to have so pleaded after contesting the US-backed court's legitimacy. If convicted, they could be hanged.

REUTERS SHB HS1615

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