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Iraqi, foreign views mixed on opening of Saddam trial

[JURIST] Many Iraqis watched intently Wednesday as the trial of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] opened, but the proceeding drew mixed reviews in Iraq and abroad. Shiite and Kurdish Iraqis welcomed the start of the trial, with many watching on television as the deposed dictator pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to charges Wednesday. Government, Shiite and Kurdish media praised the opening of legal proceedings [AFP report], touting the process as the "trial of the century." Iran [JURIST news archive], which was at war with Iraq throughout the 1980s during Saddam's rule, also welcomed the start [UPI report] of the trial and demanded that charges be levied for what it viewed as Iraqi attacks on Tehran and Kuwait. Others in the Iraqi and Arab communities took a less favorable view of the tribunal. Many Sunni Muslims in the country questioned its fairness, noting it had been organized with the backing of the US. Other Arabs offered little sympathy for the former ruler, but were similarly skeptical [Reuters report]. The trial adjourned Wednesday until Nov. 28. AP has more.

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