Friday, September 09, 2005

Lawyer: Saddam did not confess to mass killings

AMMAN - Saddam Hussein's chief attorney denied on Thursday that the ousted president had confessed to ordering executions and waging a campaign against Kurds in which thousands of people are said to have been killed.

"There was no confession by the president and all the investigations in this case do not implicate him at all," Khalil Dulaimi said in a statement sent to Reuters.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told state television on Tuesday that an investigator who questioned Saddam told him he had extracted important confessions from him and that the ousted leader had signed them.

Talabani did not say whether Saddam had actually admitted to committing any crimes, or had merely acknowledged that he was head of state and commander in chief of the army at the time of various military operations.

"Saddam deserves a death sentence 20 times a day because he tried to assassinate me 20 times," Talabani said, recalling his days as a Kurdish rebel leader fighting the Baghdad authorities.

Talabani's comments appeared to be part of an orchestrated move by the government to prepare Iraqis for Saddam's execution, expected to be carried out by hanging.

Dulaimi said the investigator who was leaking information about the course of the interrogation should resign because he was prejudicing the outcome of the trial

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