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Handwriting experts testify that Saddam signed Dujail execution order

[JURIST] In a report read in court as the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] resumed in Baghdad Monday, handwriting experts testified that some of the signatures on documents connected with the execution of 148 Shiite villagers belonged to Hussein. The documents include an execution order [text] allegedly signed by Hussein and Barzan Ibrahim [Trial Watch profile], Hussein's brother-in-law and former director of intelligence, as part of a crackdown effort in Dujail following a 1982 assassination attempt. The two have refused to provide handwriting samples [JURIST report], and Barzan claims that his signature was forged. Saddam refuses to confirm or deny that the signatures are his.

Defense lawyers have complained that the experts chosen have ties to the Interior Ministry and are not impartial, and have called for international experts [AP report] to examine the evidence. At the close of Monday's session, presiding Judge Raouf Abdul Rahman [BBC profile] adjourned the trial until Wednesday in order to give the experts more time to verify the handwriting. If convicted of the Dujail charges [JURIST report], Hussein and his seven co-defendants could face the death penalty. The prosecution is also preparing a second trial in which Hussein will face genocide charges [JURIST report] involving the killings of over 100,000 Kurds in 1980. Reuters has more.

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