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Saddam lawyer says trial mockery of justice
Updated: 2004-07-01 01:24

Saddam Hussein will not get a fair trial and his captors have already decided his fate, the deposed Iraqi president's defense lawyer said Wednesday.

"This is a mockery of justice. We are facing clear legal violations. ... The allegations that this is going to be a fair trial is baseless," said Mohammad Rashdan, one of a 20-member legal team appointed by Saddam's wife to represent him.

Saddam Hussein will not get a fair trial and his captors have already decided his fate, the deposed Iraqi president's defense lawyer said on June 30, 2004. [Reuters]
A U.S. official said the United States formally transferred Saddam and 11 of his top lieutenants before an Iraqi judge as Iraq took legal custody of them.

Saddam will remain in the physical custody of U.S. forces. He and his top aides are to be charged Thursday.

"Any trial of the president is illegal and unjust and it follows from the aggression that took place against Iraq. The trial is a farce and the guilty verdict had been issued even before the trial has begun," he added.

Rashdan said he and his legal associates in the United States filed suits against the U.S. authorities for not allowing them access to Saddam.

The defense team was not given any of the tons of documentation prepared by a special tribunal that will try the former Iraqi leader, he added.

He said the team, which includes lawyers from the United States and France, had been threatened by Iraqi officials and feared for their lives if they came to Baghdad to defend Saddam without international protection.

"They should provide us with international protection. ... Do they want to slaughter all the lawyers? If the court is not capable of ensuring a proper defense, is this is the justice they are thinking of delivering?" Rashdan said.

"On what basis was the court set up and who appointed the judges and what laws it is subject to?," Rashdan asked, adding the tribunal's judges had been bribed to take on the task.

The now defunct U.S.-appointed Governing Council set up a war crimes tribunal and chose judges to try Saddam, who was captured in December. Some Arabs still see him as a nationalist hero who stood up to U.S. military might.

Saddam's aides and others among the 55 most wanted Iraqis on a U.S. list are seen as witnesses who could help prove a chain of command linking Saddam to crimes against humanity.

Saddam will be charged with ordering the 1988 massacres of Kurds, the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, according to Chalabi.

"They are afraid of a bringing out the truth because a fair trial would be an indictment of (President) Bush. He has to first prove whether his entry into Iraq was legal or not," Rashdan said.

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