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British lawyer asked to defend Saddam against war crimes charges

[JURIST] Anthony Scrivener [profile], a former chairman of the UK's Bar Council [group website], has been asked by Saddam Hussein's family to represent the former Iraqi dictator at his upcoming trial [JURIST news archive]. Perhaps Scrivener's most famous case was his work on the legal team representing the Guildford Four [BBC backgrounder]. Four innocent men were convicted of a 1975 pub bombing, but their convictions were overturned 15 years later when a court ruled that police misconduct, including torture and fabrications, had tainted their confessions. Lawyers already attached to Saddam's defense plan to argue [Guardian report] that the Iraqi Special Tribunal [offical website] itself is illegal since it was set up by an occupying power, and that Hussein should have sovereign immunity. Scrivener wrote in 2004 [Independent commentary] that the trial had "already degenerated into the realms of a promising theatrical farce," and has not yet decided whether to lead the defense team. BBC News has more.

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