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Hussein execution would fuel sectarian violence: ex-US AG Clark

[JURIST] Former US attorney general turned Saddam Hussein defense lawyer Ramsey Clark [Salon.com profile] told a Washington press conference Tuesday that executing Saddam only would only precipitate more sectarian violence in Iraq. He made the comment only a few days after the New York Times reported that Hussein believes the tribunal will issue a death sentence against him [JURIST report] that the US can use as leverage to persuade him to help end the Sunni insurgency. Taking up familiar themes [JURIST report], Clark said the US has unduly influenced the trial, which he contended has been fundamentally unfair from the beginning because the defense team has been prevented from interviewing witnesses and otherwise investigating the case. Echoing concerns [security requirement memo, PDF] he articulated to the Iraqi High Tribunal in a December filing [PDF], Clark also demanded increased security for the defense team after a third lawyer involved in the trial was murdered [JURIST report] last week. Hussein's lawyers have threatened to boycott the trial [JURIST news archive] unless their security is improved. At the same press conference, Curtis Doebbler [JURIST op-ed], the other American on the Hussein defense team, claimed that there was "an intentional effort...by the United States government to intimidate us and to try to prevent us from even coming to the trial, much less in providing a defense." CNS News has more.

The defense summation is scheduled for July 10. Hussein and his seven co-defendants are charged [JURIST report] with killing, torturing and illegally detaining Dujail residents and with committing other inhumane acts in response to an alleged 1982 assassination attempt on Hussein. Reuters has more.

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