A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Saddam lawyer accuses court of hindering defense

[JURIST] An American defense lawyer in the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive] accused the Iraqi High Tribunal [official website] on Monday of not giving the defense team enough time to present their case on behalf of Hussein and his seven co-defendants. Curtis Doebbler [Wikipedia profile] criticized Chief Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman [BBC profile] for not responding to defense motions and intimidating defense witnesses, adding that the prosecution had more than five months to complete its case [JURIST report], while the court rushes the defense through their case. Barzan al-Tikriti, Hussein's half-brother and co-defendant, voiced his opinion that the trial has been unfair, prompting Abdel Rahman to throw al-Tikriti out of the courtroom.

Doebbler complained that the court has not responded at all to some defense motions, including one seeking the records for the 1984 Revolutionary Court trial which resulted in death sentences for 148 Shiites [execution order], allegedly for partaking in a 1982 assassination attempt on Hussein in Dujail. The execution of 148 Shiites is one of the main crimes against humanity charges [JURIST report] Hussein faces. Three defense witnesses testified that 15 of those slotted for execution in 1984 were not executed then, and that 10 are still alive [JURIST report], an argument that could hurt the prosecution if proven true. Those three witnesses, plus one other, were arrested on perjury charges [JURIST report] last month and the defense later alleged that two of the four witnesses were abused while in custody [JURIST report]. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.