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Saddam loses bid to delay trial as possibility of early execution looms

[JURIST] A request [JURIST report] made by lawyers for Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] to delay the October 19 start [JURIST report] of his trial on charges stemming from a 1982 massacre at Dujail [NPR audio report] was rejected [AP report] Sunday by the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] considering his case. If convicted, Hussein faces the death penalty and statutes require that execution by hanging takes place within 30 days of final appeals being exhausted. An official close to the Tribunal said Sunday that since Hussein is expected to face up to a dozen trials for acts committed during his rule, the possibility exists that he will be executed before the court finishes trying him for all his alleged crimes. Also Sunday, officials released additional details on the operation of the Special Tribunal, explaining that the upcoming trial will take place before a 5-judge panel [JURIST report] rather than a jury, and that all defendants will be tried together, although each will have a separate lawyer and the judges will issue separate verdicts for each defendant. Hussein's trial on other charges will begin after the court has ruled on the Dujail case. Knight Ridder has more.

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