A thinner but combative Saddam Hussein appeared in court in Baghdad yesterday and asked to be executed by firing squad if the court sentences him to death.
"I was brought against my will directly from the hospital," Saddam told the chief judge.
"The Americans insisted that I come against my will. This is not fair."
He asked the court to execute him by firing squad - "not by hanging as a common criminal" - if it convicts him of all charges and sentences him to death.
As the session began in the US-controlled Green Zone, the ousted president was allowed to make a statement, in which he challenged the validity and impartiality of the court which could sentence him to death by hanging.
Saddam and seven codefendants have been on trial since October 19 in the killing and torture of Shiites in Dujail following a 1982 assassination attempt against him there. The prosecution has asked for the death penalty for Saddam and two of the seven others.
"I ask you being an Iraqi person that if you reach a verdict of death, execution, remember that I am a military man and should be killed by firing squad and not by hanging as a common criminal," Saddam said.
Chief Judge Raouf Abdel Rahman reminded Saddam that the trial was still under way and that the court had not reached a verdict. Executions in Iraq are normally by hanging.
Saddam then repeated a theme he has voiced since the start of the trial - that the panel is an illegal instrument of the American occupation and is unjust.
As he argued with the chief judge, Saddam raised his hands, pointed his finger and said: "Not even 1,000 people like you can terrify me."
"The invaders only understand the language of the gun," Saddam said. "I am in prison but the knights outside will liberate the country."
Saddam was last in court June 19 when chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi asked the court to impose the death penalty on the former ruler and two others. He was rushed to hospital on Sunday on the 17th day of a hunger strike.