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Saddam's trial farce stumbles to climax

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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 07:48 PM
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Saddam's trial farce stumbles to climax
Saddam's trial farce stumbles to climax

Murdered lawyers and witnesses, political meddling, judges dismissed, lies in evidence: the prosecution of the Iraqi dictator has been flawed from the start. With the first verdict due next week, his eventual execution seems almost certain - but will that bring justice for his victims?

Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor
Sunday October 29, 2006
The Observer

... There have been many lies told in the trials of Saddam Hussein. There are certainly lies being told by Saddam and his co-accused to defend themselves. There are lies too, it appears, being told by the witnesses against him. People remember things they did not, or could not, see. In one recent court session a woman described a rape in a room, although she was not present. When challenged, she said that there could be no other reason for a man to take a woman into a room on his own. At times the written record of the investigating magistrate has been contradicted by oral examinations of the same witnesses, while at others the similarity of evidence - down to the very phrases delivered by different witnesses - is too pat, suggesting coaching by the prosecution.

But there is a bigger lie than that. With the first verdict due to be delivered early in November, the biggest lie of all may be that this is an open and fair trial. It was a legal process sold by its US sponsors as the Nuremberg of Iraq, a reckoning for decades of murder and abuse by Saddam and his lieutenants in the Baath party ...

The trial is lethal for Saddam and his co-defendants because its likely conclusion is an appointment with a hangman's noose within a month of the completion of the appeals process. It is especially lethal for those involved in a hearing marked by the murder of witnesses, for relatives of the prosecution lawyers, and for the lawyers themselves. The most recent killing took place just two weeks ago when a gunman shot the brother of the chief prosecutor in the Anfal trial. On 21 June this year, the victim was Saddam's chief defence lawyer, Khamis al-Obeidi, who was assassinated in Baghdad.

That killing resulted in a protest a fortnight later by two of Saddam's lawyers in the US, Ramsey Clark, a former US Attorney-General, and Curtis Doebbler, at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington. They called for immediate security for all the Iraqi defence lawyers and complained that the trial was unfair and being pushed by the Americans. The two lawyers claimed that the US had refused to provide adequate protection for the defence despite repeated requests ...,,1934233,0...
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