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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:46, September 09, 2005
Saddam did not confess to crimes, says lawyer
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Saddam Hussein's chief attorney denied Thursday that the ousted leader had confessed to ordering executions and waging a campaign against Kurds in which thousands of people are said to have been killed.

"There was no confession by the president and all the investigations in this case do not implicate him at all," Khalil Dulaimi said in a statement sent to Reuters.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told state television on Tuesday that an investigator who questioned Saddam told him he had extracted important confessions from him and that the ousted leader had signed them.

200 suspected insurgents arrested

As Saddam's case still goes on, US and Iraqi forces have encircled the insurgent stronghold of Tal Afar, and Iraqi authorities yesterday announced the arrest of 200 suspected insurgents - most of them foreign fighters - in a sweep through a militant-held district in the northern city near the Syrian border.

The Iraqi military said 150 of those arrested on Wednesday were Arabs from Syria, Sudan, Yemen and Jordan.

The joint forces have reported heavy battles on the outskirts of the city and several deadly bombings that have mainly killed civilians. Iraqi authorities reported most of the civilian population had fled the city, which is 420 kilometres north of Baghdad and about 60 kilometres the Syria border.

Eight civilians were killed in the city on Wednesday by a suicide car bomber at an Iraqi checkpoint, he said.

Near Baghdad yesterday, police reported finding 16 unidentified bodies near a farming town south of the capital and on its outskirts.

Soldiers and police collected 14 of victims yesterday near Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometres south of the capital.

"All the bodies are in civilian clothes and have no identification documents," said Lieutenant Adnan Abdullah of the Mahmoudiya police. They had been shot to death, he said.

Two more decomposing bodies, blindfolded and handcuffed, were found on the outskirts of Baghdad, near a sewage plant, police said.

Hostage rescued

On Wednesday, the US military, acting on a tip, raided an isolated farmhouse outside Baghdad and rescued an American businessman held hostage for 10 months. The kidnappers, who had kept their captive bound and gagged.

Roy Hallums, 57, was "in good condition and is receiving medical care," a military statement said after US forces freed him and an unidentified Iraqi from the farmhouse 24 kilometres south of Baghdad.

Hallums, formerly of Newport Beach, California, was kidnapped at gunpoint from his office in the Mansour district of Baghdad on November 1, 2004.

Source: China Daily

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