Saddam lawyers in protest action

Iraqi lawyers defending Saddam Hussein before the country's Special Tribunal say they are suspending further dealings with the court until their safety is guaranteed.

    Al-Duleimi said poor security placed lawyers in danger

    The lawyers are citing the kidnapping and murder of a lawyer representing one of the former president's co-defendants the day after the trial opened last week.

    A statement signed by Khalil al-Duleimi, who leads the Saddam hundreds-strong defence team, said poor security put the lawyers and their families in danger.

    "Due to the extreme deterioration of the security situation in Iraq, and the repercussions facing the Iraqi defence team and their families, we are stopping all dealings with the court until the situation is reversed," said the statement on Wednesday sent to The Associated Press.

    Al-Duleimi arrived in Amman, the Jordanian capital, earlier on Wednesday for meetings with other members of the defence team, including former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark. It was not known if al-Duleimi would meet with Saddam's family members living in Amman.

    Al-Duleimi did not answer repeated telephone calls from reporters.

    The statement also claimed "US troops had attacked al-Duleimi's office and documents and money were stolen."

    No other detail 

    There was no other detail given to support the charge, which also called on "US and Iraqi forces to stop assaulting the homes and offices of Saddam's defence team." There was no immediate comment from the US military.

    "One Iraqi lawyer was assassinated and others received several death threats, and they don't trust either the Americans or the Iraqi government"

    Issam Ghazzawi,
    Saddam legal team adviser

    The move to suspend dealings with the Iraqi court was prompted by last week's assassination of Saadoun Sughaiyer al-Janabi, lawyer for Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former head of Saddam's Revolutionary Court.

    Al-Janabi was kidnapped by armed men wearing police and military uniforms who walked into his Baghdad office last Thursday. Hours later, his body, bearing signs of torture, was found on a sidewalk near a Baghdad mosque.

    UN protection 

    Saddam's Jordan-based legal support team also said on Wednesday that it would seek United Nations protection for the Iraqi lawyers because they do not trust either the US military or the Iraqi government to ensure their safety.

    "One Iraqi lawyer was assassinated and others received several death threats, and they don't trust either the Americans or the Iraqi government," a lawyer who advises the Saddam team, Issam Ghazzawi, told The AP in a telephone interview.

    He said he was drafting a petition to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asking the world body to provide protection for Saddam's lawyers. He also urged the UN to lead an international investigation into al-Janabi's murder.

    On Tuesday, Jordan's Bar Association held a rally to protest against Saddam's trial calling it a "farce."

    "This mimic trial is controlled by the empire of evil and aggression, the United States. It is the custodian of the organised international terrorism, carried by pawns of the occupation," the president of Jordan's Bar Association, Saleh Armouti, said, calling the Saddam trial "illegitimate."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    We visualised 1.2 million votes at the UN since 1946. What do you think are the biggest issues facing the world today?

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.