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Saddam to Miss Court Session for Health Reasons

Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein will miss the court session of his trial Monday due to his deteriorating health condition as a result of a hunger strike, a court// source said.

"Saddam will not come to today's session because of his severe health condition after he was hospitalised for mounting a hunger strike for more than two weeks," a source at the Iraqi Criminal Court told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) on Monday.

The court is expected to hear the concluding arguments of the lawyers defending the former Iraqi leader and his seven co-accused, on trial over the 1982 killing of 148 Shiites in the village of Dujail following a failed attempt on Saddam's life.

Saddam was admitted to hospital on Sunday after beginning a hunger strike on July 8 in protest over the assassination of his defence lawyer Khamis al-Obaidi.

Al-Obaidi was the third lawyer on the defence team to be killed since the Dujail trial started on October 19, 2005.

The defence team announced a boycott of the court following al-Obaidi's death unless their demands and those of their clients were met.

If the defence lawyers abstain from the upcoming session, the court will appoint lawyers from the court-affiliated legal bureaus.

(Source: IANS)

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