Saddam speech forces closure of court to media

BAGHDAD – The chief judge in Saddam Hussein’s trial barred journalists from the court on Wednesday after the former leader urged Iraqis “to resist the invaders”.

“I call on the people to start resisting the invaders instead of killing each other,” Saddam told the court.

But he told Iraqis to avoid civil war, otherwise “you will live in darkness and rivers of blood”.

The judge barred journalists 15 minutes after Saddam formally took the stand.

A heated exchange also erupted between Saddam and chief judge Raouf Abdel Rahman, who told him his days as Iraqi leader were over.

“Don’t make a political speech. Now you are a defendant. This is your destiny and your role (as president) is over. Defend yourself and avoid political speeches,” Abdel Rahman told Saddam.

Saddam responded: “If it was not for politics I would not be here and neither would you.” — Reuter