Saddam Tells Judge: 'Go to Hell'
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Saddam Hussein told the judge overseeing his trial in Iraq to "go to hell" Tuesday and threatened not to return to an "unjust court" when it reconvenes on Wednesday.
After five witnesses gave horrific testimony of torture allegedly overseen by Saddam -- there are two more witnesses to hear from this week before the Dec. 15 election in Iraq -- court was preparing to adjourn for the day when the deposed dictator jumped to his feet and complained that the court was "deliberately hauling defendants before the trial when they are exhausted."
He complained that he had no fresh clothes, and that he had been deprived of shower and exercise facilities.
"This is terrorism," he said.
Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin cut him off, saying proceedings will resume on Wednesday.
Saddam then told the judge and "all the agents of America" to "go to hell" and said he would not return to court.
At that point, the audio was cut off to the media gallery and the curtain drawn so reporters could not tell what transpired afterward.
Earlier, Saddam sat stone-faced in a Baghdad courtroom as a woman testified behind a curtain that the former Iraqi president's henchmen beat her as a teenager and forced her to take her clothes off.
The woman, identified only as "Witness A," told the court that she was taken into custody after the 1982 assassination attempt against the former Iraqi president in the town of Dujail. She often cried during her testimony and repeated that she was forced to undress, implying that she had been raped but not saying so outright. She also testified of horrific torture imposed upon inmates at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere while Saddam was in power.
"I begged them, but they hit with their pistols," she said in a voice that was electronically altered. "They made me put my legs up. There were five or more and they treated me like a banquet. Is that what happens to the virtuous woman that Saddam speaks about?"
Amin then advised her to stick to the facts.
Amin said that defense attorneys would be told the identity of the witness but they must not pass the information to anyone outside the tribunal. Witnesses have the option of not having their identities revealed as a security measure to protect them against reprisals by Saddam loyalists. The first two witnesses — both males who took the stand Monday — allowed their names to be announced and their faces seen.
The woman was the first witness of the fourth session of the trial taking place in the heavily guarded Green Zone. Defense lawyers at first complained they could not hear her scrambled voice, but the equipment modifying it was fixed after a brief recess.
Shiite victims of a 1982 crackdown confronted the former leader and his seven lieutenants on trial for the killing of more than 140 Shiites in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad. They could be executed by hanging if convicted. The crackdown followed an assassination attempt, which Saddam told the court Tuesday was ordered by Iran.
Tortured Witnesses Blame Saddam
The woman witness, who said she was 16 at the time of the Dujail incident, said Wadah al-Sheik, an Iraqi intelligence officer who died of cancer last month, ordered her to take off her clothes.
"He raised my legs up and tied up my hands. He continued administering electric shocks and beating me," she said.
She also said al-Sheik fired a gun at the wall to scare her.
When asked by the judge which of the defendants she wanted to accuse, "Witness A" identified Saddam. "When so many people are jailed and tortured, who takes such a decision?" she said.
She later quoted a security officer as telling her, "You should thank your God because you are here in the Intelligence Center. If you were in the directorate of security, no woman would remain virgin." Nevertheless, she also said that many fellow female detainees lost their virginity to security guards.
The witness said she was thrown into a room with red walls and ceiling in an intelligence department building and that prisoners were given only bread and water to eat.
"I could not even eat because of the torture," she said. She said prisoners were later moved to Abu Ghraib prison where the torture continued. The rooms at Abu Ghraib were full of bugs she said, adding that prisoners were forced to use paper to cover their feet and pieces of the blankets as underwear and socks since they weren't given any shoes or real clothing.
She said one woman gave birth in the prison. "The baby got stuck between her legs. Another woman tried to help her, but the guards told her it was none of her business. The baby suffocated between her legs," she said. She said her sister and sister-in-law also gave birth while in detention.
Men were put in front of the children and told to run; if anyone stopped, they were hit with cables, the woman testified. Men were also placed in front of women naked and beaten on their sexual organs, she said, adding that her younger brother was beaten with cables more than 50 times.
After her secret testimony, the unidentified woman appeared in open court under a rule that allows defendants to face their accusers. Instead of ordering the cameras to be turned away, the judge cut all the audio and translation and drew a curtain on the press area in the back of the courtroom.
A second female witness could not be heard at all because the judge had her microphone turned off after deciding he didn't like the sound of the electronically-altered voice. And there was no way the translator could hear the woman without a microphone.
"Witness C," a man, testified that he was taken by security forces along with his parents and two infant sisters. They spent 19 days at the intelligence headquarters and 11 months in Abu Ghraib, where his father died after being beaten on the head, he said. Then they spent three years in the desert.
"At the intelligence headquarters, they put two clips in my ears," the witness said, adding that he was told that if he lied, he would be given an electric shock. When he answered a question, the shock was administered, he said.
"In prison they used to bring men to the women's room and ask them to bark like dogs," he said. "My father died in prison and I was not able to see him." He added that his father, who was 65 and had heart problems, was kept in a room about 50 yards from him.
That prompted an outburst from Saddam, who complained of his own conditions in detention. He said the court had time to listen to the witnesses' complaints "but does anyone ask Saddam Hussein whether he was tortured? Whether he was hit?"
He urged the judge to investigate his conditions because "it is your duty as judges to investigate the crime at its scene."
"I live in an iron cage covered by a tent under American democratic rule. You are supposed to come see my cage," he told Amin. "Please, Mr. Judge, do not accept any insult to Iraq. It doesn't matter if he insults Saddam Hussein, because the Americans and the Zionists want to execute Saddam Hussein. What does the execution of Saddam Hussein matter? He has given himself to Iraq from the day he was at school and has been sentenced to death three times already. Saddam Hussein and his comrades are not afraid of execution."
Sainab Salbi, who now lives in the United States, said she has mixed feelings watching Saddam's trial. Salbi grew up in Iraq during Saddam's reign; her father was Saddam's pilot. "You can't say 'no' to the devil,' she said.
Salbi, now the president of Women for Women International and author of the book, "Between Two Worlds," told FOX News that there is still an aura of fear among the Iraqi people that they could still someday suffer the former so-called Butcher of Baghdad's wrath.
"It's a mixture of feelings. You still have that fear because every single Iraqi family has stories of atrocities about how they suffered under Saddam's thumb," she said Tuesday.
But she said it's very important Saddam get a fair trial "because I look at this trial as a way for Iraqis to document their history" and have a dialogue about where they want the country to go, she added. "So I see it as a very important historical opportunity."
Stories of Shiite Torture
The Tuesday hearing began after a dramatic, often chaotic day Monday when the trial's first witnesses offered chilling accounts of killings and torture using electric shocks and a grinder during a 1982 crackdown against Shiites.
One witness said he saw a machine that "looked like a grinder" with hair and blood on it in a secret police center in Baghdad where he and others were tortured for 70 days. He said detainees were kept in "Hall 63."
The trial's first witness, Ahmed Hassan Mohammed, delivered a rambling, nearly two-hour account of the events in Dujail in retaliation for an armed attack on Saddam's convoy.
Mohammed recalled how security agents rounded up townspeople of all ages, from 14 to more than 70.
"There were mass arrests. Women and men. Even if a child was 1-day-old, they used to tell his parents, 'Bring him with you,"' Mohammed said.
He said the agents took him and the others to the intelligence headquarters in Baghdad, where they were tortured before being transferred to Abu Ghraib prison.
Mohammed said his brother, who was at 17 at the time, was tortured while his 77-year-old father watched. Interrogators threatened to rape the prisoners' daughters and sisters if the men did not sign confessions, he said.
"Some men just said 'I will sign anything but leave my sisters alone,'" he said.
Mohammed, who was 15 at the time, said he himself was tortured. "They blindfolded me, but I was so young, it kept falling." At the Baghdad detention center, he saw "a machine that looked like a grinder and had some blood and hair" on it, and "I saw bodies of people from Dujail."
The witness exchanged insults with Ibrahim, Saddam's half brother, telling him "you killed a 14-year-old boy."
"Go to hell," replied Ibrahim, who was intelligence chief at the time.
"You and your children go to hell," the witness replied.
The judge then asked them to avoid such exchanges.
As the testimony continued, Saddam's lawyers objected that someone in the visitors' gallery was making threatening gestures and should be removed. Ibrahim leaped to his feet, spat in the direction of the gallery, and shouted, "These are criminals."
The judge ordered the person removed from the gallery.
Mohammed, fighting back tears, described how there had been "random arrests in the streets, all the forces of the (Baath) party, and Thursday became 'Judgment Day' and Dujail has become a battle front."
"Shootings started and nobody could leave or enter Dujail. At night, intelligence agents arrived headed by Barazan" Ibrahim, he said.
Ibrahim interrupted him: "I am a patriot and I was the head of the intelligence service of Iraq."
But Ibrahim also contested Mohammed's testimony, insisting there was no "Hall 63" and no place in the intelligence building large enough to accommodate as many prisoners as the witness said were there.
The second witness, Jawad Abdul-Aziz Jawad, who was only 10 when the assassination attempt occurred, testified that Iraqi helicopters attacked the town and used bulldozers to destroy the fields and orchards.
Jawad said Saddam's regime killed three of his brothers, one before the assassination attempt and two afterward.
Earlier, Mohammed said he was told that Saddam asked a 15-year-old boy if he knew who he was. "He said 'Saddam'. Then Saddam hit him in the head with an ash tray."
The testimony drew an angry response from Saddam, who suggested that Mohammed needed psychiatric treatment and accused the court of bowing to American pressure.
"When the revolution of the heroic Iraq arrives, you will be held accountable," Saddam warned the chief judge.
"This is an insult to the court," Amin responded. "We are searching for the truth."
Saddam told Amin he hoped "that you will endure my frankness."
"How can a judge like yourself accept a situation like this?" Saddam asked. "This game must not continue. If you want Saddam Hussein's neck, you can have it. I have exercised my constitutional prerogatives after I had been the target of an armed attack.
When Mohammed objected to some of Saddam's remarks, the former president snapped: "Do not interrupt me, son."
FOX News' Dana Lewis and The Associated Press contributed to this report.