News and Information

Trial imminent for Saddam aides
December 14, 2004
The trials of former members of Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime will begin next week, interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has said.
In a speech to Iraq's National Council, he said the "symbols" of the former regime would be tried "one by one".

The names of the aides were not given, and he gave no indication of when Saddam Hussein would face trial.

The trials could start as early as next week, Mr Allawi said, although he did not give a specific date.

The court cases would "ensure that justice is done in Iraq", he added.

Saddam Hussein was captured by US troops a year ago on 13 December, near his home town of Tikrit.

In other developments on Tuesday:

Poland announces it will cut the size of its force in Iraq from 2,500 troops to 1,700 in mid-February

At least 12 people are injured in a car bomb attack in Baghdad outside a building used as a training facility for the Iraq National Guard

On a visit to Baghdad, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Richard Myers says US troop numbers will rise from 138,000 to 150,000 before elections planned for 30 January

The bodies of 14 men, all of them killed with a single bullet to the head, are found in the restive northern city of Mosul

The US says two marines died in fighting outside Baghdad on Monday, but gives no further details

The UN refugee agency is closing several of its camps in Iran for Iraqi refugees. It says 107,000 Iraqis have returned since the fall of Saddam Hussein, many of them after spending more than two decades in Iran.
Secret location

Lawyers representing the members of the old regime have said their clients will not recognise the legitimacy of any courts established under US occupation.

Apart from the former president, 11 senior figures are being held in US custody at a secret location.

They include former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as Chemical Ali for his role in gas attacks on northern Iraq during the offensive against the Kurds in 1987.

The US military said on Sunday that a number of the men had been refusing some meals, but denied reports that Saddam Hussein was on hunger strike.

Mr Allawi also said that Iraqi police had killed a senior aide to militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and seized two others.

He described Hassan Ibrahim Farhan, who was killed on Monday, as being close to Zarqawi and responsible for carrying out some of the beheadings of hostages seized over the past eight months by Zarqawi's followers.


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