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Saddam gets medical warning as hunger strike hits two-week mark

[JURIST] Doctors have warned Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] that his now two-week-long hunger strike could have adverse health effects, according to a US military spokesman Thursday. Hussein drinks coffee and fortified water, but has refused to eat [JURIST report] since July 7. Hussein began the hunger strike in protest of trial court procedures and the killings of three defense lawyers, which the defendants believe occurred because of inadequate security provided by US forces.

On Friday, Hussein's lawyers released a 5,000 word letter [AP report; Arabic text, PDF; translation], written by Hussein at the urging of defense lawyer and former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and addressed to the American people, that accuses the US government of misleading its citizens to gather support for the war. Saddam and his seven co-defendants face crimes against humanity charges [JURIST report] of killing, torturing and illegally detaining Dujail residents, as well as committing other inhumane acts in response to an alleged 1982 assassination attempt on Hussein. The trial currently stands adjourned [JURIST report] until July 24 in hopes that lead defense lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi and his colleagues will end their latest boycott [JURIST report] of the proceedings, based in part on the same security concerns. AP has more.

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