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A WOMAN OF HER CONVICTIONS

Malcom Lagauche

bushraalkhalil11a6qa.jpeg

May 23, 2006

Shortly after Saddam Hussein was kidnapped by U.S. forces, speculation arose about who would be his legal representative at his trial. Quickly, more than 2,000 lawyers worldwide contacted his family to offer their services on a volunteer basis.

Eventually, the current team of lawyers was chosen. Some well-known individuals, such as former U.S. Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, and international human rights advocate, Curtis Doebbler, were on the roster.

After the announcement of his capture, a lesser-known lawyer from Lebanon sent the following letter to Saddam:

To: Mr. President Saddam Hussein, may God protect him and guide him to the right path.

President of the Republic of Iraq and leader of the Arab Mujahideen. Your image which appeared yesterday on TV showing you in the hands of those hypocrites made me feel that you are the only free Arab man, while all other Arabs without exception are the real prisoners. I appeal to you to allow me to have the honor of defending you in case a so-called "trial" is set up.

The writer of the letter was Bushra al-Khalil. She is not your typical female Middle Eastern lawyer. A Shia Muslim, she dresses in a modern secular manner. And, she is very outspoken.

After the assassination of well-admired Lebanese political figure Rafiq al-Hariri, much speculation came forth that Syria was behind the killing. Not al-Khalil. On February 15, 2005, she told Aljazeera.net:

If we look at the way the assassination has been conducted, it is very sophisticated. I knew al-Hariri’s security measures — no local system could have breached them.

The question is, who stands to benefit from his death? Syria’s enemies. I think al-Hariri’s death is part of the plan to divide the region into tiny helpless sectarian states. This plan has started in Iraq and will continue to hit all other Arab countries.

She was right on the mark with her comments, although, at the time, they contradicted the propaganda coming from the U.S. Sectarian violence is now a part of daily Iraqi life, while Iran and Syria are beginning to see partitions in their societies: partitions that were created from outside.

Saddam Hussein’s daughter, Raghad, chose al-Khalil for the defense team. Today, she is the most visible and controversial of the members of the defense.

On April 5, the head judge of the kangaroo court, Rauf al-Rahman, kicked al-Khalil out of the proceedings. Her actions seemed quite routine, but al-Rahman has seemed to pick her as a scapegoat for the defense team. Al-Khalil raised an objection and al-Rahman told her to sit down before she finished. When she kept on talking, the judge had her thrown out.

Al-Khalil returned to court on May 22. However, her presence did not last long. According to Aljazeera News:

Bushra al-Khalil, a Lebanese lawyer, reappeared in court after a long absence — she had previously been thrown out of court early last month by Judge Rauf al-Rahman, who accused her of disrupting the proceedings.

On Monday, an argument immediately broke out over her earlier ejection and the judge ordered her thrown out a second time. She was taken out of the courtroom screaming, tossing her robes at the judge.

Bushra al-Khalil is an Arab nationalist first and foremost. On May 14, 2006, she told al-Jazeera News:

His (Saddam) only crime is he tried to build a strong and sophisticated country and that does not suit the West and some countries in the region.

Every time I am on board an American helicopter to go to court, or to meet the president, I look at Baghdad and the cement walls that look like snakes wrapping a prey and I am even more confident that they came here and are trying the country’s leaders to curb a rising, ambitious Arab-Muslim power.

Judge al-Rahman has repeatedly been harsher on al-Khalil than other attorneys representing Saddam. Many believe it is because of her gender. However, al-Khalil disagrees. According to The Independent newspaper:

But al-Khalil said she believes the judge is picking her out for harsher treatment because she's Shiite who dared to defend one of the most hated figures among Iraqi Shiites. Saddam is on trial for allegedly killing and torturing Shiites in the town of Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt against him there.
"There is a decision to distance me because I come from a well-known Shi'a family," she said.

Al-Khalil is a member of a wealthy southern Lebanese family from the village of Jwaya. Her maternal grand father, Youssef al-Faqih, led the country's Shiites until the 1950s, and an uncle was a grand ayatollah, the highest rank a Shiite cleric can reach.

"Saddam Hussein is not a sectarian person and it can't be true that he targeted Shi'as for being Shi'as," she said. "The Dujail case was not against Shiites but against people who tried to assassinate the president …

… "Saddam started the resistance that will for sure liberate Iraq."

The U.S. has gone to lengths to perpetrate stereotypes of sectarian differences in the Arab world. However, Bushra al-Khalil does not fit any mold the U.S. had in mind for a female Shia lawyer.


:: Article nr. 23486 sent on 24-may-2006 00:28 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=23486

Link: www.malcomlagauche.com/id1.html



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