Thursday, October 27, 2005

Saddam's defense team wants to put Bush on trial

Saddam Hussein's defense committee wants to put U.S. President George W. Bush in the dock to mirror the Baghdad trial of the toppled Iraqi leader over a Shiite massacre, a Jordanian lawyer said Tuesday.

"We shall contact international and Arab lawyer associations and will put forward the proof allowing for a trial of the criminal Bush at the same time as the fake trial takes place in Iraq," Saleh Armouti told a meeting of the Amman-based Saddam defense committee.

If lawyers abroad fail to take the case to court, "we shall organize it in Jordan and will invite international supporters," Armouti said,

Saddam is currently being tried on charges of murder and torture related to the killing of 148 Shiites from the village of Dujail following a failed attempt on the Iraqi leader's life in July 1982.

Saddam's Iraqi lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi, who arrived in Amman on Tuesday to take part in talks on coordinating strategy for his next court hearing on November 28, did not attend the defense committee meeting.

In a related development, a group of former foreign leaders backing Saddam's defense called for a UN probe into the murder of an attorney working for one of his fellow accused.

An investigation into the murder of Saadoun Janabi was an "urgent necessity," the former foreign leaders and ministers wrote in a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Investigations by Iraqi and U.S. officials into the murder "will have no credibility," said the letter signed by former Algerian President Ahmad Bin Bella, former Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohamad, French former Foreign Minister Roland Dumas and former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark

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