Saddam's lawyer wants trial moved out of Iraq

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by -Cp, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. -Cp

    -Cp Senior Member

    Sep 23, 2004
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    Saddam's lawyer wants trial moved out of Iraq
    Associated Press

    LONDON — A lawyer for Saddam Hussein said today that Iraq's insurgency has made Baghdad far too dangerous a venue for the former leader's trial, and that the proceedings should be moved to another country.

    Giovanni di Stefano said Saddam's defense team has contacted the Swedish government about the possibility of holding a trial there. But Swedish Justice Ministry spokesman Alexander Valentin said today that he was not aware of any official request.

    "Do you fancy spending a year or more in Baghdad, going to court five days a week? Would you feel safe there?" di Stefano said in an interview with The Associated Press.

    "Baghdad couldn't even prevent the recent kidnapping and killing of the Egyptian ambassador. There are also many Iraqis who want to see Saddam executed and many others who want to see him freed. That means the defense and prosecution would both be in danger there," di Stefano said.

    Di Stefano criticized Iraq's handling of Saddam, saying the fact that he has been held in custody for 548 days without being formally charged is a violation of international law.

    "The whole point of the Iraq war was replace Saddam and everything he stood for. But there is a total disregard of the law there now," he said.

    On Sunday, the Iraqi Special Tribunal filed its first criminal case against Saddam for a 1982 massacre of Shiites and said a trial date would be set within days.

    The tribunal said the investigation into the July 8, 1982, massacre of an estimated 150 Shiites in Dujail, 50 miles north of Baghdad, has been completed, and the case was referred to the courts for trial. Saddam is accused of involvement in the massacre as retaliation for a failed assassination attempt as he drove through the city.

    The date for the trial of Saddam and three others was expected to be determined in "the coming days," said Raid Juhi, chief judge of the tribunal. If convicted, Saddam could face the death penalty.

    Some U.S. officials have quietly urged the Iraqis to proceed carefully in prosecuting Saddam as the Shiite-led government seeks to draw Sunnis away from the insurgency.

    Di Stefano said each country has its own laws and procedures regarding trials, but that Saddam's criminal case should have been announced in Iraq by a prosecutor, not the judges who hear the case.

    The lawyer said the defense team believes that Iraq's government now has 7,000 witness statements and 2 million documents related to the prosecution of Saddam, none of which have been shared with the defense.

    "We haven't seen one sheet of paper," Di Stefano said.

    He said the defense team has corresponded with Saddam and that it received his last letter several weeks ago.

    The lawyer said Saddam obviously can't discuss legal matters, so the missives focus instead on the former leader's interest in books, women, horse racing and soccer, and the fact that he is writing poems and a memoir.

    Di Stefano also said Saddam may eventually decide to represent himself, if he is ever formally charged and put on trial.

    "Well, he is a lawyer. Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic did the same thing. He took it upon himself," Di Stefano said.
  2. Gunny

    Gunny Gold Member

    Dec 27, 2004
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    The Republic of Texas
    Change of venue to my backyard.

    Execution at 6AM.

    Trial at 8 AM.

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