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Saddam defense says trial fixed, urges court-appointed lawyers to quit

[JURIST] The defense team in the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] said Monday that the proceedings against the deposed Iraqi dictator in the Iraqi High Criminal Court - formerly the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] - have been fixed by United States and Iraq's Shiite leaders and called for court-appointed defense lawyers to quit their positions [AP report]. Hussein and his lawyers are boycotting trial proceedings [JURIST report], prompting chief judge Ra'uf Rasheed Abdel-Rahman [BBC profile, JURIST report] to appoint replacements. While Hussein's lawyers originally vowed to continue the boycott until Abdel-Rahman was replaced, the defense team now says "it has reached a dead-end with the illegal, so-called Criminal Court."

The boycotting lawyers have not been allowed access to Hussein [JURIST report] since they left court on January 29, and, according to chief prosecutor Ja'afar Moussawi, will have to apply through the court for such access in the future. Proceedings have been adjourned [JURIST news archive] until February 13, but Moussawi has stated that the court will "take the appropriate action," possibly forcing Hussein to attend, if the boycott continued at that time. Reuters has more.

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