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Saddam defense team says Iraqi officials interfering with judiciary

[JURIST] Lawyers for Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] accused Iraqi officials of interfering with judicial independence Thursday, after a number of public statements [AFP report] from officials that Iraq's Cassation Court, currently considering Hussein's appeal [JURIST report], would ultimately affirm the former Iraqi president's death sentence [JURIST report]. Hussein's lawyers also criticized comments from prosecutors that the life sentence of former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan [JURIST news archive] would be raised to a death penalty as well.

Hussein's legal team told the media that the statements violate the principles of justice and a fair trial, and called for intervention by Arab governments [UPI report] and international human rights groups to ensure that such basic principles are upheld. Hussein was convicted on crimes against humanity charges [charging instrument, PDF] committed in the Iraqi town of Dujail [JURIST news archive; BBC trial timeline] in 1982. He is currently on trial on separate genocide charges [JURIST news archive; BBC trial timeline] for allegedly killing 100,000 Kurds during the so-called "Anfal" campaigns [HRW backgrounder] in the late 1980s. DPA has more.

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