Disguised woman testifies against Saddam

A woman testifying Tuesday at the Saddam Hussein trial behind a beige curtain and with her voice disguised, told of beating, torture and sexual humiliation at the hands of security agents as the ousted president sat stone-faced and silent. Five witnesses - two women and three men - testified in the fourth session of the trial - all of them hidden from the public view and with their voices disguised to protect their identities. But the most dramatic testimony came from the woman identified only as "Witness A," who was a 16-year-old girl at the time of the crackdown. With her voice breaking with emotion, she told the court of beatings and electric shocks by the former president's agents. Such treatment of a young woman is gravely offensive in traditional Arab culture and Saddam was careful to avoid any gesture which would demean him further. On Monday, he angrily challenged male witnesses, insulting them and suggesting one needed psychiatric treatment. Saddam and seven others are charged in the deaths of more than 140 Shi'ite Muslims in retaliation for an assassination attempt against him in the town of Dujail in 1982. Saddam accused Iran of ordering the attempt on his life.
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