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Monday, November 06, 2006

Saddam's Defence

Saddam Hussein's defence team said his conviction today for crimes against humanity and the death sentence passed on him were illegal and political.

''This is a mockery of justice and a judgement that comes from a sham and illegal court created by the US occupation that cannot ever provide a fair trial,'' lawyer Bushra al-Khalil told Reuters in Amman, where the defence team is based.

Two other senior aides, including his half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti, will hang like the former president if their automatic appeals fail.

Former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan was sentenced to life in prison by the US-backed Iraqi High Tribunal, and three minor Baath party officials received long sentences.

Another defence lawyer who attended the proceedings today said the verdict was a foregone conclusion by a court that had condemned Saddam even before sentencing him.

''The verdict was prepared in advance and is to market the US elections for Bush ... it's the first court in which the verdict is read without the reasons for the conviction,'' Wadoud Fawzi Shams Eddin told Reuters by telephone from Baghdad.

''In any case, this court is illegal ... what can you expect from an illegal creature of the occupation that not only created it but controlled it and announced the convictions and death sentences.''


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