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International brief ~ Jordanian lawyers accuse Iraq of planning phony Saddam trial

[JURIST] Lawyer Ziad Khasawneh, spokesman for the Jordanian Committee for Defending Saddam, claimed Thursday that the government of Iraq was planning to rush the trial of former dictator Saddam Hussein forward so that the US elections would draw attention away from the lack of fairness in the proceedings. Khasawneh accused Iyad Allawi, Iraq's Interim Prime Minister, of appointing Jamal Mustafa to head a special court that would railroad Saddam without allowing for a fair hearing of all the evidence. Khasawneh also accused the interim Iraqi government of bribing the appointed defense counsel assigned to Saddam in order to ensure their complicity with the phony trial. Khasawneh again insisted that Saddam's family should be the ones to pick his defense counsel. Aljazeera.com has more.... China has declared its endorsement of India's candidacy for the UN Security Council. Tang Jiaxuan, state councillor to China, said that China looked forward to India "playing a greater and more constructive role in the UN Security Council." Tang left it unclear whether this endorsement was solely for a normal role on the Security Council, or if this was a favorable remark concerning the proposed reforms to the Security Council which would see the addition of the G-4 nations (made up of India, Germany, Brazil, and Japan) as permanent members. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the G-4 proposals here. The Times of India has more on Tang's statement here.... Four Ethiopian men received sentences Wednesday on charges of torture and murder; three were sentenced to death, one received 20 years imprisonment. The men were alleged members of the Oromo Liberation Front, a rebel faction fighting for the independence of the southern Oromo region of Ethiopia. The acts committed by the men occurred more than 10 years ago, and involved the alleged genocide of individual's from the Amhara ethnic group, which the OLF accused of being spies for the government in power at that time. Ethiopian President Girma Wolde Giorgis still has to approve the death sentences under Ethiopian law. South Africa's News 24 has more.

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