[JURIST] A former Iraqi judge on trial with Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] testified Monday in Baghdad that he sentenced 148 Shiites to death after a 1982 assassination attempt on the former dictator in the town of Dujail, but asserted that they were given a proper trial beforehand. Awad al-Bandar [Wikipedia backgrounder] led the Revolutionary Court when the 148 were sentenced. Chief judge Ra'uf Abdel-Rahman [BBC profile] appeared to wonder whether the 148 could actually have been tried, asking al-Bandar how the testimony of so many individuals could have been taken in an alleged two-week time period and how they all fit in the courtroom. Al-Bandar responded that all 148 had confessed to the assassination attempt despite prosecution accusations that the death sentences were really a crackdown on the Dujail villagers [JURIST report] in retribution for the assassination attempt. Saddam has admitted to ordering the death sentences [JURIST report] but denies his actions were criminal because he was acting as head of state.
Al-Bandar's testimony followed the direct testimony of three other defendants [JURIST report] on Sunday who denied informing Iraqi security forces and the country's intelligence agency about other families in Dujail who were later arrested. After the direct testimony of all eight defendants - including Saddam - is taken the Iraqi High Criminal Court, formerly the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website], will recess to detail the specific charges against them. Both sides will then be able to respond to those charges. The trial has now been adjourned until Wednesday. AP has more.