Hussein trial resumes

Saddam was taken to hospital Sunday on the 17th day of a hunger strike launched to demand better security for his lawyers. Prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi said the ex-president's condition had stabilized and he should be fit to appear this week.

Chief Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman adjourned the session July 11 to give the defense team time to reconsider a boycott in protest over the assassination of their colleague Khamis al-Obeidi on June 21. The defense team has blamed the slaying on Shiite militiamen.

But the defense announced last week that it would continue the boycott, despite the judge's threat to appoint attorneys to deliver final summations.

During Monday's session, Saddam's half brother Barzan Ibrahim told the court he rejected his court-appointed counsel and asked for more time to find a new attorney or to convince his lawyers to come back.

Abdel-Rahman asked him to listen to the closing argument of the court-appointed lawyer but Barzan refused and said he wanted to leave, according to the AP.

The judge ignored the comment and the court-appointed lawyer began his summation, accoridng to the AP.

Barzan was among the three defendants, along with Saddam and former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, who had been refusing food since July 7. Despite more than two weeks without food, Barzan appeared fit.

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