November 29, 2005 08:00 AM

Blustery and contentious, Saddam Hussein complained in a Baghdad court about his treatment by American “occupiers and invaders” and lectured the judge as the deposed Iraqi leader’s trial for alleged genocide resumed in a rambling and unfocused 2 1/2-hour session on Monday.

“I was brought here in handcuffs,” said the 68-year-old Saddam, who also begrudged his “foreign guards” for making him climb four flights of stairs in order to reach the courtroom.

Lashing out at Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin, Saddam lectured about the jurist’s permitting Americans to run the trial: “I don’t want you to tell them. I want you to order them. They are in our country. You have the sovereignty. You are Iraqi and they are foreigners and occupiers. They are invaders. You should order them.”

The tribunal adjourned until Dec. 5, only 10 days before the country’s parliamentary elections, to give the defense time to replace lawyers who have been assassinated since the trial opened Oct. 19, the Associated Press reports.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who has joined the defense team as an adviser, told CNN it was “extremely difficult” to assure fairness in the trial “because the passions in the country are at a fever pitch.”

Added Clark: “How can you ask a witness to come in when there’s a death threat? Unless there’s protection for the defense, I don’t know how the trial can go forward.”

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