Release Saddam say Jordan lawyers

The Jordan Bar Association (JBA) is demanding former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein be released from detention and that US and UK occupiers face war crimes charges.

    The US has given Saddam Hussein POW status

    In a Wednesday letter to the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the JBA said the invasion of Iraq without UN approval put the US and UK on the wrong side of international law.

    "The officials of the invasion forces, regardless of rank, are considered war criminals and their crime is considered an act of international terrorism," said the letter calling for them to be tracked down, arrested and tried.

    "It is the right and duty of the Iraqi forces, people and leader to resist and arrest the invasion forces, and their actions would be considered legitimate and embody a legitimate defence of self and country."

    "It is up to all countries to work together to resist the international terrorism carried out by the United States, Britain and their followers," the lawyers' letter said.

    Hussein Mjalli Chairman of the Jordan Bar Association told Aljazeera.net that he has completed legal procedures required to defend Saddam Hussein.

    "President Saddam's two daughters have been living in Jordan for months, and we have got their formal authorisation to defend their father in court" Mjalli said.

    "Being classified as a POW is a major move forward, because it will help us to ask for Saddam Hussein's rights as a POW"

    Nada Doumani, ICRC

    Although, Jordan's government is a key Arab ally of the US, the Jordan Bar Association has been planning to set up a legal committee to defend Saddam Hussein, who was arrested near Tikirit in central Iraq last month.

    POW status can be changed

    The United States last week formally declared Saddam Hussein an enemy prisoner of war, which entitles him to all the rights enshrined in the Geneva Convention. A top US official has since said the United States reserves the right to change his status.

    An ICRC spokesperson Nada Doumani told Aljazeera.net that the Committee is satisfied with the prisoner of war status for Saddam Hussein.

    But Doumani confirmed that the US does have the right to change Saddam Hussein's detained status.

    "It is possible under certain circumstances, the Geneva Conventions do not stipulate that it's not allowed to change the status of a prisoner of war."

    "Being classified as a POW is a major move forward, because it will help us to ask for Saddam Hussein's rights as a POW," Doumani said.

    Responding to a question about whether they received a no-objection letter from US authorities to visit Saddam Hussein, Doumani added: "we sent a letter to the US officials asking that, but we have not received the answer yet. I am sure the answer will be a positive one, but it is a matter of time".

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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