Hussein, Defendants Plan Hunger Protest Against Trial

The chief lawyer representing Saddam Hussein said Sunday he was wrong in reporting that the former Iraqi leader and seven co-defendants would begin a hunger strike to protest the "illegality" of the court hearing their case.

Khalil al-Dulaimi had initially reported that the hunger strike would begin Monday, saying he received the information through sources at the detention center where Saddam and the other defendants were being held.

"I checked and I was told that the sources were not credible and that there will be no hunger strike on Monday," al-Dulaimi told The Associated Press. He declined to provide other details, saying he will issue a written statement later.

Al-Dulaimi said all eight defendants would still boycott the resumption of their trial Monday in Baghdad.

Saddam's defense team walked out of the trial in a stormy Jan. 29 session and has refused to participate unless the chief judge, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, is dismissed, alleging he is biased against the deposed Iraqi leader.

Abdel-Rahman appointed new defense lawyers and the trial continued without the defendants or their lawyers for two sessions before adjourning until Monday.