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First Witness Testifies at Saddam Trial


The first witness to appear in person at the trial of Saddam Hussein has given graphic testimony about the 1982 killing of more than 140 people in a mainly Shi'ite town.

The witness, Ahmed Mohammed Hassem, said he knew several people killed in Dujail after an assassination attempt on Saddam there. His testimony was interrupted by exchanges with one of Saddam's seven co-defendants -- his half-brother Barzan Ibrahim.

Saddam also yelled out "long live Iraq, long live the Arab state," during the trial.

Before the witness appeared, one of Saddam's lawyers, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, demanded better security for the defense team. The lawyers briefly walked out of the trial in protest before Mr. Clark spoke.

Two defense lawyers have been assassinated. On Sunday, Iraqi authorities said they had foiled an insurgent plot to bomb the trial during Monday's proceedings.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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