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Defense lawyer in Saddam case abducted and killed

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A defense lawyer for one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants was shot dead after being abducted, police said on Friday, in a grim new twist to a case meant to turn the page on Iraq's bloody past.

    Saadoun Janabi was kidnapped from his small Baghdad office late on Thursday, witnesses said. Police said on Friday his body was later found shot execution-style in the chest and head.

    Iraq's government condemned the murder, which some human rights groups said could have a "chilling effect" on Saddam's defense team and dim hopes for a fair trial.

    Janabi was attorney for Awad al-Bander, a former judge who appeared with Saddam and six other co-accused in court on Wednesday at the start of their trial on charges stemming from the killings and executions of more than 140 men in the 1980s.

    Bander is accused of overseeing the trials of dozens of men from the Shi'ite town of Dujail north of Baghdad who were sentenced to death in the wake of a failed assassination attempt against Saddam in July, 1982.

    The Dujail case is the first against Saddam, who is also expected to face charges of war crimes and genocide for a series of offences during his brutal three-decade rule over Iraq.

    The assassination of Janabi, who lawyers said had been an old friend of the former dictator, came as Saddam's formerly dominant Sunni Arab minority wages a bloody insurgency against the Shi'ite- and Kurdish-led government and its U.S. backers.

    Both Baghdad and Washington hope the trial, which began just days after a referendum on a new constitution, will prove a unifying force and draw a line under Saddam's dictatorship.

    But some human rights groups fear it may be simple "victor's justice" that could further the exacerbate sectarian tensions that have already pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war.

    Iraq's Electoral Commission said on Friday final results from the October 15 constitutional referendum would not be released for another day or two. They had been expected on Friday.

    The constitution, which Washington hopes will stabilize Iraq as a democratic ally and allow it to begin withdrawing its 150,000 troops, is believed to have passed despite opposition from many Sunni Arabs who say it seals their political eclipse.

    The U.S. military announced on Friday that three marines and a soldier had been killed, bringing the total number of U.S. servicemen and women who have died in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion to at least 1,992.


    Witnesses said Janabi's kidnappers -- heavily-armed and wearing suits and ties -- identified themselves as employees of the Interior Ministry, often accused by Sunni groups as sanctioning hit squads run by Shi'ite militiamen.

    The ministry has repeatedly denied the allegations, and the government on Friday denied any involvement in the murder, saying it was ready to boost the already tight trial security.

    "Those suggestions are ridiculous and baseless. The government does not condone attacks against minorities and former figures in Saddam's Baath Party," National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie told Reuters.

    Chief government spokesman Laith Kubba said the government was committed to protecting all those involved in the trial, although he noted that no special security requests had been put forward by Janabi or other members of the defense team.

    "The investigation of this crime is under way. Terrorists have targeted officials within the government before and the Iraqi government much like before is committed to its war against terror," he said in a statement.

    But human rights groups, which have called for the trial to be held in an international court outside of Iraq, said the attack showed the risks of holding such a trial in Iraq's desperately polarized political environment.

    "This could have a chilling effect on the willingness of competent lawyers to vigorously defend the accused and that could have a fatal effect on the fairness and effectiveness of the trial," said Richard Dicker, head of the international justice program at rights watchdog Human Rights Watch.

    The head of the Iraqi Bar Association, Khamal Hamdoon Mulla Allawi, called on the government to guarantee protection for all involved in the trial.

    "It's obvious that the goal behind this horrible crime is to shake the course of justice," he told Reuters.

    Janabi was one of the few lawyers to address the court at Wednesday's hearing, which was broadcast around the world from a heavily guarded courtroom at the center of Baghdad's fortified government "Green Zone" before it was adjourned until November 28.

    Echoing complaints from other defense lawyers, Janabi said the defense team had had insufficient time to study evidence.

    Most observers expect Saddam and the other accused to be quickly convicted and put to death.

    Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who is in Baghdad seeking to reconcile the country's hostile factions, was due to meet Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari on Friday following high-level talks with Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari on Thursday.

    Moussa has voiced growing fears among Sunni-ruled Arab states that Iraq may be careering toward civil war that could spread across the region -- drawing the ire of some Shi'ite leaders who say the 22-member League is biased against them
  2. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

    :evil: And we have so many lawyers here that deserve a bullet in the head.
    That's just so unfair.
  3. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I don't like it at all... Doesn't materr what (We) have accused him of. He deserves to have council... :shock:
  4. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

    I agree, I was referring to the lawyer being shot as a good start.

    What do you throw to a drowning lawyer?
    His Partner.

  5. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    For the life of me, I cannot see what either side gained by offing the lawyer. Makes no sense at all.
  6. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Stalling time is what is gained for one side.
  7. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    That and possibley intimidateing his defence to try and make sure they dont bring thier A game to court.
  8. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Coming from someone who just left a lawyer's employ.....

    I have to agree....My God...he was the worst excuse for a human being I have ever known!

    I could tell y'all stories...and you just wouldn't believe how awful it was..... :rolleyes:

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