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Court Mostly in Order As Hussein Returns

Saddam Hussein, back in court in Baghdad after boycotting the last session, speaks to the judge at the start of proceedings, where he appeared tired.
Saddam Hussein, back in court in Baghdad after boycotting the last session, speaks to the judge at the start of proceedings, where he appeared tired. (Pool Photo/by Stefan Zaklin Via Associated Press)

The prosecutors asked two members of Hussein's former government -- his presidential office chief, Ahmed Samarraie, and an intelligence officer, Hassan Obeidi -- to discuss their role in the killings and confirm their knowledge of the documents.

But both men, the first Hussein officials to testify in the case, professed ignorance and said they had been forced to appear in court against their will.

"I don't remember anything because so many memos were going up and down," Samarraie said.

"In 1982, I was a low-ranking officer in Iraqi intelligence working in the legal department, and that had nothing to do with the Dujail case," Obeidi said.

Hussein smiled and occasionally snickered as the prosecutors made little headway. At the end of their testimony, he left the courtroom appearing in better spirits than when he had entered. The trial is to continue Tuesday.

Al-Arabiya, meanwhile, broadcast a new video of two German engineers kidnapped on Jan. 24. The network's newscaster said their captors, the Tawhid and Sunnah Brigade, warned that it was the "last chance" to meet their demands or they would kill their hostages, Thomas Nitschke and Rene Braeunlich. In a previous tape, the group called on the German government to cut all ties with Iraq.

In London, British military police said Monday that they had arrested a man in their investigation of a video that allegedly showed British soldiers beating prisoners in Iraq in 2004, the AP reported. The Defense Ministry declined to identify the man, who was arrested Sunday night.

Special correspondents K.I. Ibrahim, Omar Fekeiki and Bassam Sebti in Baghdad and Hassan Shammari in Baqubah contributed to this report.


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