Lawyers want to visit Saddam in captivity
( 2003-12-23 09:58) (Agencies)
Jordanian and French attorneys want to visit Saddam Hussein in captivity so they can offer to represent him before an Iraqi war crimes tribunal, the Jordanian lawyer said Monday.
Saleh Armouti and French attorney Emmanuel Ludot are asking the U.S. State Department for permission to visit Saddam, who is being held by the American military at an undisclosed location in Iraq after his Dec. 13 capture.
"As soon as we get the authorization from the State Department we shall travel to Iraq and meet with Saddam Hussein to get an official empowerment from him," Armouti told The Associated Press.
The Arab state, while maintaining close relations with the United States, also has historically strong ties with neighboring Iraq and relied on Saddam's regime for its entire oil supply.
Jordanian professional organizations, including the bar association, have long supported Saddam, including during Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Bar association president Hussein Mejali said last week he believed Saddam was unlawfully deposed by coalition forces and unlawfully captured by U.S. troops.
Mejali on Monday wrote to Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and urged him to use international laws to ensure that Saddam is not tried and instead is handed over to a neutral country or the Red Cross.
Iraqi Governing Council members have said Saddam will be tried in a special war crimes tribunal established with provisions taken from the International Criminal Court.
No decision has been made on how or when Saddam will be tried or what charges he will face. The tribunal was created days before U.S. troops captured Saddam near his hometown of Tikrit.
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark said Friday he would represent Saddam, but added it was unlikely an international court would allow a non-Arabic speaking foreigner who was not trained in the Arabic legal tradition to participate.
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