“The wife and sister of Mr Ramadhan contacted me and I paid them a visit in the Arab country [where they reside]," said Bouchra al-Khalil.

 

"They appointed one of my colleagues and I the power of attorney to defend the vice president of Iraq Taha Yassin Ramadhan,” she added.

Al-Khalil said she is planning to apply to the Iraqi Bar Association to seek permission to defend Ramadhan in case he was put before a court.

She did not elaborate how she is going to contact the Association and whether she is going to travel to Iraq or not.

Current Iraqi Bar Association’s regulations state that a non-Iraqi lawyer must seek the Association’s approval to appear before an Iraqi court.

Profile

Ramadhan was born in 1938 in Mosul, in the north western province of Iraq known as Ninevah.

He joined the Baath Party in 1956 and was one of the key players in the 1968 coup which brought the party to power.

“We have never met Bin Laden and never seen him at all.”

Taha Yassin Ramadhan, detained Iraqi vice president

In 1969, he became a member of the Revolution Command Council, the highest legislative body in Baath Party Iraq. He held several ministerial posts over three decades.

He is considered as hardline a Baathist as Saddam Hussein. 

He lambasted the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, when the Saudis proposed that Saddam Hussein step down in early 2003 to avoid a US invasion.

"You loser. You are a minion and a lackey," he said, telling the Saudi prince to "go to hell".

He once described the 1991 Gulf War as a victory for Baghdad since it marked "the beginning of saying 'no' to the forces of aggression".

There are reports that he disagreed with Saddam Hussein over economic policies in the 1980s, but that did not prevent him from continuing to be a member of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle.

Denied bin Ladin links

 

Washington showed considerable interest in him well before the Iraq war this spring, after exiled Iraqi opposition forces claimed he hosted Usama Bin Ladin's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, in Baghdad in 1998.

He strongly denied the US allegations, and said “Is it logical that the great Baath party with its long record in combating imperialism would work with Usama bin Laden people? This is nonsense.”

“We have never met bin Ladin and [have] never seen him at all.”

Shortly before the war, he told the pan-Arab MBC television channel the Bush administration "is Zionist... more Zionist than the Jews".

Ramadhan has been accused by Iraqi exiles of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in ending the Iranian-backed Shia anti-government rebellion in southern Iraq in 1991 and his alleged involvement in the killing of thousands of Kurds in the north in 1988. 

He was captured on 19 August 2003, by Kurdish fighters in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul about four months after the occupation of Iraq.