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Lawyer determined to defend Saddam despite receiving death threats

Gulf Times, Qatar

7.iraq_saddam_trial_lon321.jpeg

Wednesday, 7 June, 2006

THE team of lawyers defending former Iraqi president Saddam Hussain has succeeded in achieving a major reversal of the proceedings so as to foil the pre-determined plans of the prosecution, according to Dr Najeeb al-Noaimi, former Qatari minister of justice, who is a member in the defence team.

Speaking to a Doha Arabic daily, he said: "Our focus has been on establishing the illegality of the trial. We are aware that we cannot get a verdict in our favour but we will be presenting arguments based on internationally accepted principles, agreements and conventions."

He said: "Our arguments will serve as an eye opener and a useful source of reference for courts of law and legal institutions all over the world.

"The charge against Saddam Hussain of having ordered the killing of 147 persons has been proved false since it has not been substantiated with any solid evidence.

"We are carrying out our work without any assurance of our personal safety or the safety of our witnesses. We have deliberately avoided presenting our witnesses for fear of their lives."

He said: "Four of the witnesses were arrested soon after they had made their statements in the court. These witnesses may be eliminated if no action is taken to save them.

"Unfortunately, the American troops who are fully aware of this incident have not taken any action to save their lives.

"In view of the insecure conditions, our team has decided to stay away from the next hearing," al-Noaimi said.

"However, some of our colleagues will read out a statement explaining the incidents that took place at the last session and demand the personal safety for our team.

"I am in the team only because Saddam Hussain had made a personal request to me in this regard," he said.

"Rumours about me having received or to receive a large sum of money from some undisclosed quarters is totally false," he added.

He said he was continuing with the case in spite of receiving death threats over the phone and the Internet.




:: Article nr. 23780 sent on 07-jun-2006 17:21 ECT

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