Saddam lawyers: Shiite leaders fixed trial

Saddam Hussein’s defence lawyers today said they have all but given up in participating in his trial, insisting the United States and Iraq’s Shiite leaders have fixed the proceedings and urging court-appointed defence lawyers to quit.

The comments came in an emotional statement issued by the Jordan-based defence team and addressed to Saddam’s sympathisers in Iraq.

The defence team walked out of the trial last week in a stormy January 29 session and has refused to participate unless the chief judge, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, is replaced, alleging he is biased against Saddam.

Abdel-Rahman appointed new defence lawyers and the trial continued in two sessions before adjourning until next week, apparently in an attempt to work out a solution to the defence boycott.

But the defence team suggested no resolution was possible, saying it while they will “never abandon” Saddam, “it has reached a dead-end with the illegal, so-called Criminal Court.”

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