Iraq’s prime minister said on Saturday he hoped Saddam Hussein gets “what he deserves” when judgement is delivered in his trial for crimes against humanity on Sunday, and called for calm amid fears of a violent backlash.
If convicted, Saddam could be sentenced to hang.
The army was on alert with all leave cancelled and state television said a curfew will keep Baghdad and two flashpoint provinces locked down on Sunday. A source in the prime minister’s office said it was not clear how long it would last.
As the curfew went into effect in Baghdad, mortar rounds killed seven people and wounded 20 in western Adhamiya district late on Saturday, an Interior Ministry source said. Baghdad’s international airport was closed under security measures.
The court spokesman, Raed Jouhi, kept up some suspense over whether proceedings would go ahead as planned, telling state television: “The case is complete but if the judges find reasons for postponement, then it will be postponed.”
Saddam’s chief lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi said Saddam believed the verdict was timed to boost President George W. Bush before U.S. mid-term elections on Tuesday and urged a delay.