Prosecutors hope to put Saddam on stand this week

The prosecutor hopes to put Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants on the witness stand when their trial resumes this week, but defense lawyers said they would seek to block the move by demanding more explanation of evidence submitted against their clients, the prosecutor and a defense lawyer said on Saturday. Foreign lawyers defending the Saddam and his colleagues, including former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and former Qatari Justice Minister Najib al-Nueimi, plan to be in the courtroom after a weekslong absence, said defense lawyer Khamis al-Obeidi. "The defendants' statements will be taken starting tomorrow and this could go on for three or four sessions," chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi said. "Their statements will be taken and then there will be a discussion with the defense concerning the documentary evidence that was handed over." The trial of Saddam and seven co-defendants opened Oct. 19 for their alleged killing of nearly 150 people from the town of Dujail, where the former Iraqi strongman survived an assassination attempt in 1982.