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Witness claims Saddam 'victims' alive, case built on bribes
Tue May 30 2006 08:46:10 ET

A defence witness in Saddam Hussein's trial over the killings of Iraqi Shiite villagers claimed many of those allegedly executed were still alive and said the prosecution case was built on bribes, AFP reports.

The anonymous witness said he was a teenager in Dujail in 1982 when an attempt on Saddam's life led to what the prosecution has termed a massive crackdown on the village, hundreds of arrests and the execution of 148 men.

"The prosecutor said they were executed but I am telling you I ate with them some time ago" and that 23 of them were alive, said the witness, who had worked at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison in the mid-1980s.

"Many of them have gotten rich and occupy powerful positions," he said, as he testified from behind a curtain, going on to write down names for the judge.

"If it is true and these people are still alive, this whole case should be reconsidered from the beginning," said the lawyer for Awad al-Bandar, whose revolutionary court under Saddam sentenced the men to death in 1984.

Saddam and seven associates are on trial for crimes against humanity stemming from the arrests, torture and execution of Dujail villagers as well as the destruction of their property.

The witness charged that the whole case was fabricated.


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