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Trial resumes as Saddam boycott continues

[JURIST] Proceedings in the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] continued Wednesday without the former president in the courtroom, after Hussein promised not to return [JURIST report] to an "unjust court". There was a delay in proceedings [AP report] Wednesday at the Iraqi High Criminal Court (formerly the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website]) while judges decided whether to proceed without Hussein. Under Iraqi law, a defendant need not be present in the courtroom, though the court is considering allowing Hussein to watch the trial via closed circuit TV and Hussein may be able to intervene using a microphone. The trial has been disturbed by several outbursts from Hussein since it started on October 19, with the former leader repeatedly trying to gain control of the proceedings. Hussein and his co-defendants are charged with murder, torture, forced expulsions and illegal imprisonment stemming from a 1982 massacre in Dujail [JURIST report] and could face the death penalty if found guilty. Before Hussein's boycott announcement Tuesday, the court heard testimony from five witnesses including a woman who spoke behind a curtain and with her voice disguised [JURIST report; BBC report] and recounted beatings, torture and sexual humiliation at the hands of Iraqi security agents. BBC News has more.

9:53 AM ET - The Saddam Hussein trial has now been adjourned until December 21.

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