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Saddam defense lawyer killed after abduction

[JURIST] A defense lawyer in the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] was abducted and killed Wednesday, just two days after the prosecution presented their closing arguments in the trial, calling for the death penalty [JURIST report] for Hussein and four of his co-defendants. Khamis al-Obeidi, a lawyer for both Hussein and his half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti, had chosen to continue living in Baghdad throughout the trial, despite the murder of two other defense lawyers [JURIST report] last year. Khalil al-Dulaimi, the leader of Hussein's defense team, blamed Shiite death squads that allegedly infiltrated the Interior Ministry to carry out the murder. Several men dressed in police uniforms abducted al-Obeidi early Wednesday morning, and police found his body later in the day.

Last fall Adel al-Zubeidi, a lawyer representing former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, was killed in an ambush, and ten masked gunmen killed Saadoun Sughaiyer al-Janabi [JURIST reports]. The defense team will conclude the trial with their closing arguments, scheduled to begin on July 10. After the killings last year, the defense team asked for increased protection, however and threatened to boycott the trial [JURIST report] if added security is not provided. AP has more.

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