Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Saddam cross-examines prosecution witness

BBC - The trial of Saddam Hussein and some of his associates has been hearing evidence from a woman from the town of Dujail, where more than 140 people were killed after an attempt on Saddam's life in 1982.

She was known only as Witness A, and spoke from behind a curtain.

In a voice grotesquely disguised by electronic means, she told how, at the age of sixteen, she had been stripped naked in what she called an "operation room" and chained to a table.

Five men beat her with steel cables and gave her electric shocks.

As a result, she said, several of the girls who were tortured with her have never been able to marry or have children.

Sometimes she would break down in tears, her disguised voice rumbling and shaking in a way that was almost more upsetting to listen to than the normal sound of a woman crying.

After the torturers had finished with her and the other Dujail families, they were all sent off to the desert, where they lived for four years under appalling conditions.

And then Saddam decides he can cross examine better than the lawyers can.

[...]"Who arrested you?" Saddam asked.

"Men from Intelligence."

"How do you know?"

"They said so."

"What were their names?"

The witness gave the names.

"Describe them."

The witness proceeded to do it.

"How come you remember all these things" Saddam asked, irritably.

"This was a great sadness to me," said the witness. "I can't forget a sadness."

Brilliant move Saddam. I wonder if the testimony loses something in translation because " great sadness" doesn't seem nearly sufficient to describe what this poor woman endured.

"Watch that left hand, Akmed! I have this finger and you may just find it up your nose if you're not careful!"