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Saddam judge adjourns trial to resolve defense boycott

[JURIST] Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman [BBC profile], presiding over the Saddam Hussein trial [JURIST news archive], on Tuesday adjourned the trial until July 24 in a bid to give Hussein and his lawyers time to return from a boycott of proceedings. Hussein, along with several co-defendants and defense lawyers, on Monday boycotted trial proceedings [JURIST report] at the Iraq High Tribunal as other members of the defense team began closing arguments. Closing arguments continued Tuesday with two more defendants giving their statements. Abdel-Rahman then adjourned the trial, saying that proceedings will resume in two weeks, even if the boycotting lawyers fail to show up. Though Abdel-Rahman said it would hurt the case, court appointed lawyers will present closing arguments for the remaining defendants if necessary.

Defense lawyers for Barzan al-Tikriti, Taha Yassin Ramadan and Awad al-Bander have decided to boycott closing arguments until the court meets a list of demands, including greater security measures for the lawyers and their families. Monday's proceedings were the first since a third defense lawyer was murdered last month [JURIST report], just days after the prosecution presented closing arguments, calling for the death penalty [JURIST reports] for Hussein and three other defendants. AP has more.

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