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Saddam's defense cuts off dealings with court
Updated: 2005-11-09 22:30

Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer said on Wednesday lawyers for the former Iraqi president and seven co-defendants would stop all dealings with the tribunal trying them for crimes against humanity.

Lawyers for Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants, including Thamer Hamoud al-Khuzaie (R), are seen in Baghdad October 19, 2005. The slain lawyer for one of Hussein's co-defendants was buried on Wednesday amid concern that his killing undermines the credibility of the trial. [Reuters]

"The defense committee has decided to consider the November 28 date (for the next hearing) canceled and illegitimate," Khalil al-Dulaimi told Reuters the day after a lawyer for one of the defendants was shot dead in Baghdad.

He was the second defense lawyer to be killed since the trial began on October 19.

The court is due to hold its next hearing on November 28 but Dulaimi said the defense lawyers were unable to contact witnesses or do their job because of the threats to their lives.

Gunmen shot dead defense lawyer Adil al-Zubeidi in Baghdad on Tuesday and injured Thamer Hamoud al-Khuzaie, a fellow member of the defense team. Both had been defending Saddam's half-brother and his former vice president.

"We call on the international community, the U.N. Security Council, the United States and all those involved to work on scrapping the criminal court as illegitimate, and also to pressure it to release President Saddam Hussein and his legitimate leadership team," Dulaimi said.

Coming less than three weeks after the killing of another lawyer for one of Saddam's co-accused, Tuesday's attack renewed concerns about whether the trial can be held in Iraq given the violence still plaguing the country.

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