Saddam Asks: ‘Where Is the Crime?’
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Saddam Hussein told his judges Wednesday that he ordered the trial of Shiites who were eventually executed in the 1980s and that he ordered the confiscation of their lands, but insisted that doing so was not a crime.
``Where is the crime?″ Saddam asked the court. ``Is referring a defendant who opened fire at a head of state, no matter what his name is, a crime?″
Saddam and seven co-defendants are on trial for the executions of 148 Shiites, as well as the arrest and torture of others and the confiscation and razing of their farmlands, following a July 8, 1982 attempt to assassinate the then-Iraqi leader in the town of Dujail.
Saddam said his co-defendants should be freed and that he alone should be tried since he was the president and they were following orders.
``A head of state is here. Try him and let the others go their way,″ he said.
``If there is a law issued by Revolutionary Command Council that calls for confiscating land, then try the chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council. He is present,″ said Saddam who was the head of the council, a main institution of his regime.
Chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman was about to adjourn the session when Saddam asked to be allowed to speak. Saddam stood and made the comments in a 15-minute speech, then the judge adjourned the session until March 12.