Defense lawyer urges US to keep custody of Saddam to prevent torture

[JURIST] Former US Attorney General and Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] defense lawyer Ramsey Clark [JURIST news archive] on Wednesday urged President Bush to keep Hussein and his Dujail trial [BBC trial timeline] co-defendants in US custody, expressing concern that Iraqi officials will torture the convicted defendants. Hussein and two of his co-defendants, Awad Hamed al-Bandar and Barzan al-Tikriti, were all convicted and sentenced to death [judgment; JURIST report] last month for crimes against humanity [charging instrument, PDF] committed in the Iraqi town of Dujail [JURIST news archive] in 1982. The deadline to file appellate papers for the Dujail trial is on Saturday, and many expect the appellate court to make a decision on the appeal in a matter of days. If Hussein and his co-defendants lose the appeal, their execution will likely occur within 15 days, unless the US refuses to hand them over to Iraqi custody. Clark claims that the US has the "highest moral and legal obligation" to keep them in US custody, arguing that Iraqi officials will torture the co-defendants before their execution. Last week, an Iraqi official said that Hussein and his co-defendants will face a quick execution [JURIST report] and possibly a secret burial if the appellate court upholds their conviction.

Hussein 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. The Anfal trial could continue posthumously [JURIST report] should Hussein be executed before proceedings in the second trial conclude. CNS News has more.



 

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