WORLD / Middle East

Saddam 'ready for court'
Updated: 2006-07-22 11:52

BAGHDAD, July 21 - Saddam Hussein is fit enough for a court appearance on Monday despite completing a second week on hunger strike, his American jailers said on Friday.

"Saddam Hussein and his fellow co-defendants are medically fit to go back to court. We are ensuring they receive proper care and attention," a spokesman for the U.S. military detention system in Iraq said in an e-mail response to a question.

Saddam and three of the seven people on trial with him for crimes against humanity last ate on the evening of July 7.

They are due back in court in Baghdad on Monday for the defence summing up but have been protesting at a decision to appoint counsel for them due to a boycott by their own lawyers. The lawyers are seeking better protection and other concessions after a third of their number was killed in Baghdad last week.

"The defence team of President Saddam and his comrades calls on the United Nations ... and international and Arab organisations concerned with prisoners of war, fair trials and human rights to intervene immediately and press to meet our fair demands," the lawyers said in a statement on Friday.

They said the 69-year-old Saddam's health was at risk. But the U.S. military says he is being closely monitored by doctors and is drinking sweet coffee and other liquid nourishment.

"All efforts are made by medical personnel to convince the detainees to end the fast," the spokesman said.


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