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Saddam trial adjourned until Dec. 5 after brief session

[JURIST] The trial of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] resumed Monday, but was quickly adjourned until December 5 to allow two of Hussein's co-defendants, including former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, to find replacements for members of the defense team killed [JURIST report] since the last trial session on October 19 [JURIST report]. Defense lawyers had threatened to boycott the proceedings over security concerns, but lawyer Khamees al-Ubaidi said Sunday that an agreement has been reached with US and Iraqi authorities to tighten security. Hussein and his seven co-defendants have been charged [JURIST report] with the murder of more than 140 Shiite Muslims, torture, forced expulsions and illegal detentions, alleged to have taken place after an assassination attempt against Hussein in 1982. Before proceedings were adjourned Monday, videotaped testimony of a former intelligence officer who investigated the assassination attempt was played in court. Waddah al-Sheikh became the first witness to testify last month when he offered recorded testimony [AP transcript] from his hospital bed before later dying from cancer [JURIST report]. Two new members of Hussein's defense team [JURIST report], former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and former Qatari Justice Minister Najib al-Nueimi, were present at Monday's session, although neither have been officially recognized by the Iraqi High Criminal Court (formerly the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website]) as legal counsel since Khalil al-Dulaimi, Hussein's chief lawyer, did not request official permission for foreign attorneys to attend the trial. Although Iraqi law allows foreign lawyers to act as advisers, it requires that to argue cases in court, lawyers must be members of the local bar association. AP has more.

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