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UN rights group urges Iraq not to execute Saddam after 'flawed' trial

[JURIST] A group of United Nations human rights experts on Tuesday urged the Iraqi government to refrain from carrying out the death sentence [JURIST report] imposed on Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] earlier this month for crimes against humanity [charging instrument, PDF] committed in the Iraqi town of Dujail [JURIST news archive; BBC trial timeline]. In a statement [text] from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [official website], the rights experts said the trial against Hussein was flawed due to:

[T]he lack of independence and impartiality of the tribunal, which heard the case, the lack of respect for his right to have adequate time and facilities to prepare his defense, the restrictions on his right to access to defense lawyers and on the possibility to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf.
The group has not called for Hussein's release but has instead suggested that the governments of Iraq and the US consider a retrial of the former dictator before an international panel.

The group's comments echo those in a Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] report [text; JURIST report] released last week which called the trial "fundamentally unfair." The UN group is comprised of five human rights lawyers and independent legal experts. Reuters has more.

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