The trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has entered a new phase with the first testimonies from witnesses with concealed identities.
The first woman to give evidence at the hearing spoke from behind a curtain – giving a detailed and harrowing account of torture she said she had suffered at the hands of Saddam’s guards. Her voice heavily modified through a computer to preserve her anonymity, the woman said she was held with hundreds of others rounded up in the village of Dujail in 1982 after an attempt on the then president’s life. The session was adjourned for a time after defence lawyers complained that they were unable to make out the evidence because of the voice distortion. Saddam and seven others are accused of crimes against humanity over the killings of over 140 men from the Shi’ite village.All have pleaded not guilty. As the hearing resumed and other witnesses followed, TV viewers following events in Dujail were far from impressed with the defence team’s behaviour. One resident accused the defence of trying to delay the trial with what he called “illegal and illegitimate” excuses.