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Saddam lawyer accuses Iranian government of assassination plot

[JURIST] Ziad al-Khasawneh [Atlantic profile], the Jordanian head of Saddam Hussein's legal defense team, claimed Monday that Iranian-backed Iraqi politicians are plotting to assassinate Hussein in prison. Al-Khasawneh based his claim on information received from a former Iraqi government official he identified as Hazem al-Obeidi, although the authenticity of the warning has not been otherwise verified. An Iraqi national security advisor called the claim ridiculous and said that it is just another attempt by Hussein's legal team to secure a trial by an international tribunal [JURIST report] instead of the Iraqi Special Tribunal [governing statute]. AP has more. Iran has similarly dismissed the accusations [Melbourne Age report; registration required]. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, told reporters "Saddam has been dead since a long time ago, he doesn't need to be assassinated." Iran national security advisor Mouwafak al-Rubaie described the claims as an obvious attempt to get Hussein's trial in front of an international court. Since Hussein's capture, many Iraqis claim that Iran has been meddling in their affairs by backing the Shi'ite Muslim clergy. Iran denies those accusations as well. Aljazeera has more.

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