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Jordanian lawyers decry Saddam death sentence

[JURIST] Lawyers in Jordan held a one-hour strike Tuesday to protest the death sentences [JURIST report; BBC Q/A] imposed over the weekend against Saddam Hussein and two co-defendants in the Dujail crimes against humanity case [JURIST news archive; BBC trial timeline]. The Jordan Bar Association led the brief work stoppage for its 10,000 members; about 250 lawyers staged a demonstration outside the Palace of Justice in Amman. Prominent Jordanian lawyers said the verdict was influenced by US occupation forces in Iraq. They also said it is unlikely that an appeals panel [JURIST report] will reverse the rulings. Saleh al-Armouti, the bar association's president and a former lawyer for Hussein, said, "We denounce the verdict against Iraq's legitimate president, Saddam Hussein, because it's been issued by the American occupation. The verdict is a shameful stain on Iraq's legal history and it strikes at the dignity of the Arab and Muslim nation." AP has more. DPA has additional coverage.

Meanwhile, UN Special Rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak [official profile, DOC; JURIST news archive] said Tuesday in an interview with AP [AP report] that Hussein should not have been sentenced to death and questioned the legitimacy of the Iraqi High Tribunal [JURIST news archive], echoing similar views [JURIST report] expressed Monday by his colleague, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Leandro Despouy. "I would say it didn't enjoy the full guarantees of independence we expect from a court trying someone like Saddam," he said. Nowak stressed that other special tribunals, such as the ICTY [JURIST news archive] and the ICTR [JURIST news archive], do not apply the death penalty. Other European leaders oppose Hussein's death sentence [JURIST report]. Iran, however, on Tuesday voiced its support for the verdict and sentence in the case of what it described as dictator who deserved to die [AP report]. A government spokesman said he hopes "the fair, correct and legal verdict against this criminal ... is enforced."

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