A witness in former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's genocide trial testified that the ousted leader's agents ran a human trafficking ring that sold his sister and other Kurdish women in the 1980s.
Defense lawyers and one of Sad-dam's co-defendants yesterday challenged the charge as hearsay based on a forged document.
Saddam and six other defendants are on trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their roles in a 1987-1988 crackdown on Kurdish guerrillas. The prosecution says about 180,000 people, mostly civilians, died in the offensive.
Saddam and one other defendant also are charged with genocide in the crackdown, which was code-named Operation Anfal. If convicted, all seven men could be sentenced to death by hanging.
Witness Abdul-Khaliq Qadir presented chief Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa with an account published in an Iraqi Kurdish newspaper of a document purportedly showing the intelligence department in Kirkuk sold 18 women to Egypt's intelligence service.
The document listed his sister's name and included women as young as 14, Qadir said.
Defendant Sabir al-Douri, who headed military intelligence under Saddam, told the judge the purported document misidentified the intelligence service and was clearly a fake.
Earlier in the session, Saddam accused the chief judge of preventing him from defending himself.
"When the accuser and prosecutor talk, the world listens. When the man called `the accused' speaks, you switch off the microphone. Is this fair?" Saddam told al-Khalifa.
He was referring to Tuesday's session when al-Khalifa switched off Saddam's microphone after he began shouting a verse from the Koran. When the ex-president refused to stop, the judge threw him out of court.
The judge replied that he had cut Saddam's microphone to "bring order to the courtroom."
"Clearly you wanted to give a speech when you started reciting a verse from the holy book," al-Khalifa said.
"You can talk if you want to defend yourself, but not to get into the political labyrinth," the judge said.