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Saddam hospitalized for tube feeding after hunger strike makes health 'unstable'

[JURIST] Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] has been hospitalized and is being fed through a tube after a hunger strike now into its third week rendered his health "unstable," according to the chief prosecutor for the Iraqi court currently trying him for crimes against humanity. Jaafar al-Moussawi said Sunday that the ousted Iraqi leader's condition had not yet stabilized, and that he would not be able to attend Monday's scheduled court session [AFP report]. It was not immediately clear whether Saddam had agreed to tube feeding or whether it was being done by force.

A US military spokesman said Thursday that doctors had warned Hussein [JURIST report], 69, that his lengthy hunger strike could have adverse health effects. Saddam has refused food [JURIST report] - drinking only coffee and fortified water - since July 7 in protest against trial court procedures and the killings of three defense lawyers allegedly resulting from inadequate security provided by US forces. AP has more. His lawyers have already said they will boycott Monday's court session in continuing protest against the lack of what chief Iraqi defense lawyer Khalil Dulaimi called "the minimum for a fair trial." Reuters has more on the boycott.

1:10 PM ET - Whether Saddam is being fed voluntarily or against his will is still unclear. Prosecutor Al-Moussawi has told Reuters that "Saddam Hussein continues to maintain his hunger strike and is voluntarily receiving nutrition through a feeding tube. His condition is constantly monitored by medical personnel and is not life-threatening." Saddam lawyer Khalil Dulaimi disputes this, however, insisting that "The U.S. military are force-feeding the president to break his will and end his hunger strike to protest against the trial and its illegality...They have clearly exhausted all means at their disposal to convince him to end the strike and now they are resorting to force...this is a gross violation of his rights." Reuters has more.

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