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Ex-Saddam Associate Says He Won’t Testify

August 9, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Top Saddam Hussein lieutenant Tariq Aziz will not testify against the ousted dictator in any criminal trial, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Aziz, a former foreign minister and deputy foreign minister who once served as the regime’s most public face, relayed the message in English and in Arabic via his lawyer Badee Izzat Aref.

I will not betray my honor and my conscience and testify against Saddam Hussein,″ Aziz said in a statement read to The Associated Press by Aref.

Aziz remains in U.S. custody and is facing charges for his role in Saddam’s regime. Aref said he meets with his client twice a week.

An investigative judge on the Iraqi Special Tribunal, Munir Haddad, said earlier this week he expects that Saddam’s first trial will begin ``within 45 to 50 days.″

The former Iraqi leader will face charges on his alleged role in the 1982 massacre of about 150 Shiite Muslims in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad in retaliation for an assassination attempt against him.

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