Former Iraq official takes the stand to defend boss

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“It was an assassination attempt against the president, and this party also tried to assassinate me in 1980,” Aziz said. “If the head of state comes under attack, the state is required by law to take action. If the suspects are caught with weapons, it’s only natural they should be arrested and put on trial.” Hundreds of men, women and children were arrested by security forces after the assassination attempt. Some prisoners allegedly were tortured to death and 148 Shiites were ordered sent to the gallows by Saddam’s Revolutionary Court for alleged roles in the attempt. Saddam and his seven co-defendants could be hanged if convicted of crimes against humanity for their involvement in the crackdown. The defense has been making its case for the past two weeks. BAGHDAD, Iraq – A pajama-clad Tariq Aziz, once the most prominent public face of Saddam Hussein’s regime, defended his former boss in court Wednesday and said Iraq’s current Shiite leaders should be on trial for attempts to kill him and Saddam in the 1980s. The 70-year-old Aziz, a former foreign minister and deputy prime minister, appeared thin and pale in his checkered pajamas and wore what looked like a hospital bracelet on his right wrist. His family has said he suffers from heart trouble. Aziz, appearing in public for the first time since turning himself in to the Americans during the 2003 U.S. led-invasion, is the best-known Saddam-era figure to take the stand in the seven-month-old trial. Aziz insisted Saddam had no choice but to crack down in the Shiite town of Dujail after a July 8, 1982, shooting attack on his motorcade there, blamed on the Shiite Dawa Party backed by Iran. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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