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Saddam defense team questions court legitimacy, security as trial resumes

[JURIST] Chief Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin, presiding over the trial of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive], on Monday allowed former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ex-Qatari Justice Minister Najib al-Nueimi to address the court on the safety of the defense lawyers involved in the trial, reversing an earlier ruling which led the defense team to walk out [Reuters report] of the session at the Iraqi High Criminal Court (formerly the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website]). The lawyers' departure led to chaotic shouting in the courtroom and an outburst from Hussein. Amin also permitted the defense team to address the legitimacy of the tribunal, and al-Nueimi argued that the court was set up under the US-led occupation and not a legal Iraqi government. Hussein and his co-defendants are charged with murder, torture, forced expulsions and illegal imprisonment stemming from the 1982 massacre in Dujail [JURIST report] and could face the death penalty if found guilty. AP has more. In a related development, it was disclosed that one of the trial judges had stepped down and was being replaced after learning that a defendant might have been involved in his brother's execution. The Telegraph has more.

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