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Saddam prosecution plays recorded phone call in closing evidence against Hussein

[JURIST] Iraqi prosecutors Monday played in court a taped phone conversation allegedly between Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] and co-defendant Taha Yassin Ramadan [Trial Watch profile], a former vice president, where the two discussed the situation in Dujail. The voice attributed to Ramadan reported the destruction of farmland and palm groves in the village where the former leaders are accused of executing 148 Shiites [JURIST report] in retaliation for an assassination attempt against Hussein. The other voice, allegedly Hussein's, was not clear but seemed to respond with questions about the situation. Prosecutors did not identify the source of the tape.

During the 90-minute session Monday, presiding judge Raouf Abdul Rahman [BBC profile] also read into the record a report affirming last week's authentication [JURIST report] of Hussein's signature on documents connected with the executions. The judge then adjourned the trial until May 15, when the defense will begin to present its case. A US official said Monday that a verdict in the case is expected by early August [AFP report]. BBC News has more.

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