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Saddam judge removes defense lawyer from courtroom as trial resumes

[JURIST] Raouf Abdel-Rahman [BBC profile], the judge presiding over the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive], on Monday threw defense lawyer Bushra Khalil [JURIST report] out of the courtroom for apparently arguing with the chief judge. Khalil, the only female defense lawyer in the trial, was removed from a session [VOA report; JURIST report] in April when she objected to a video of Hussein introduced by the prosecution and responded by showing pictures of alleged abuse of Iraqi detainees by US Soldiers. Monday's argument began when Abdel-Rahman told Khalil that she would be allowed to return, but refused to allow Khalil to make a statement. Hussein objected to the removal of Khalil, declaring "I am Saddam Hussein, president of Iraq. I am above all," but Abdel-Rahman told him to be silent. Abdel-Rahman has taken a tough stance to stop frequent outbursts by Hussein and his co-defendants.

After Khalil's removal from the courtroom, defense lawyers continued presenting their case, calling Murshid Mohammed Jassim to testify on behalf of a Awad al-Bandar [Wikipedia backgrounder], the former Revolutionary Court judge who sentenced 148 Shiites to death [execution order] following a 1982 assassination attempt on Hussein's life in Dujail. Jassim, a former Revolutionary Court employee, refuted charges that the Shiites never received a fair trial and insisted that defendants were always given a chance to defend themselves, adding that the Revolutionary Court never removed a lawyer from the courtroom. AP has more.

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