An investigative judge said Thursday that officials repeatedly asked &to=http://english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/399/16353_Saddam.html' target=_blank>Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants if they had ever been beaten and that they answered 'No' every time, contradicting Saddam's claim the White House lied when U.S. officials denied abusing the former leader.
Investigative Judge Raid Juhi told The Associated Press that had Saddam or any of his seven co-defendants complained of beatings or torture, their allegations would have been investigated by a medical team.
The often-theatrical trial was adjourned until Jan. 24 following two more days of gruesome testimony about alleged torture and the deaths of more than 140 Shiites after a 1982 attempt on Saddam's life in the town of Dujail, north of Baghdad. The defendants could face death by hanging if convicted.
Like most sessions of the trial so far, Thursday's had its share of drama. The defense team threatened to walk out, and a prosecutor tried to resign, saying he had been insulted by co-defendant Barazan Ibrahim, the head of the Iraqi intelligence services in 1982.
On Wednesday, Saddam told the court he'd been beaten "everywhere" on his body, insisting "the marks are still there." He did not display any marks but said it took some wounds eight months to heal.
On Thursday, Saddam said American denials that he was beaten could not be believed, noting that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq despite U.S. President George W. Bush's prewar claims that Saddam was harboring such weapons.
"The White House lied when it said Iraq had chemical weapons," Saddam said. "I reported all the wounds I got to three medical committees. ... We are not lying, the White House is lying."