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UPDATED: 08:20, May 12, 2004
Saddam to be handed over to Iraqis before power transfer
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The US-led forces will hand over Saddam Hussein and about 100 other top officials of his former regime to the Iraqis before the June 30 power transfer, an Iraqi lawyer said Tuesday.

"Their trial will start in early 2005," said Salam Chalabi, headof the Iraqi war crimes tribunal, who is in Kuwait to gather evidence against Saddam and former senior Baathist officials.

Chalabi said the suspects include Saddam, Tariq Aziz and Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali" for his use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in the 1980s.

Chalabi said al-Majid could be one of the first to stand trial and Saddam may not necessarily be the first.

Saddam was captured on Dec. 13 hiding in an underground hole near his hometown of Tikrit.

He has since then been held in an undisclosed location, and the International Red Cross Society has visited him for several times.

Source: Xinhua

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