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Saddam lawyers sever contact with Iraq court over latest lawyer murder

[JURIST] Defense lawyers in the trial of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] on Wednesday officially severed contact with the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] in response to the Tuesday murder of defense team member Adil al-Zubeidi [BBC report; TIME interview]. Lead counsel Khalil al-Dulaimi described the second day of hearings scheduled for November 28 [JURIST report] as "cancelled and illegitimate" and renewed demands that the UN stop the proceedings and initiate an international investigation of the latest shooting. Al-Zubedidi's murder [JURIST report] came two weeks after the kidnapping and assassination [JURIST report] of defense team member Sadoon al Janabi, renewing fears that current political and security conditions in the county will impact the trial and prompting the defense team to again request [JURIST report] that the trial be moved abroad. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has agreed that the attacks undermine the legitimacy of the hearings and emphasized, through spokeswoman Marie Okable, the vital importance of assuring those involved in the trial of its safety. In response to the boycott, presiding judges could fine the lawyers, appoint "backup lawyers", or allow Hussein to represent himself as he had previously requested. Reuters has more.

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