[JURIST] The defense team for Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] on Monday called several witnesses to testify on behalf of Awad al-Bandar [Wikipedia profile], head of the court responsible for sentencing 148 Shiites to death [execution order] after a 1982 assassination attempt against the former Iraqi leader in the town of Dujail [JURIST report]. Though the trial of the Shiites included only one defense lawyer for all 148 defendants and lasted just 16 days, Al-Bandar himself claimed in testimony [JURIST report] in April that it was conducted fairly and all those convicted had admitted taking part in the attempt on Saddam's life.
The three witnesses presented on al-Bandar's behalf Monday all acknowledged they had no direct connection to the Dujail case, an admission that prompted admonishment from Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman [BBC profile] who said that witnesses who worked with al-Bandar on the Shiite trial should have been presented. AP has more.
5:02 PM ET – One of the witnesses, former Saddam-era Interior Minister Mohammad Zaman Abdel Razeq Saadoun, told the court that "US forces had applied pressure on us to testify against President Saddam Hussein.' Testimony is expected to resume Tuesday and Wednesday. DPA has more.