Eight accused of plot to kill Saddam investigator

first_img On the eve of the hearing, Clark and former Qatari Justice Minister Najib al-Nueimi flew to the capital from Amman, Jordan, to lend weight to the defense team. Both have been advising Saddam’s lawyers and support their call to have the trial moved out of Iraq because of the violence. However, neither Clark nor al-Nueimi has been officially recognized by the court as legal counsel. U.S. and Iraqi officials said Saddam’s chief lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, did not officially request permission for any foreign attorneys to attend the trial. Iraqi law permits foreign lawyers to act as advisers but requires that those arguing cases in court must be members of the local bar association. Clark, who served as attorney general under President Lyndon Johnson, wrote last month that Saddam’s rights had been systematically violated since his December 2003 capture, including his right “to a lawyer of his own choosing.” Clark and others say a fair trial is impossible in Iraq because of the insurgency and because, they argue, the country is effectively under foreign military occupation. U.S. and Iraqi officials insist the trial will conform to international standards. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi police arrested eight Sunni Arabs for allegedly plotting to kill the investigating judge who prepared the list of charges against Saddam Hussein, authorities said on Sunday, the day before the ousted leader’s trial for crimes against humanity resumes. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark arrived in Baghdad to help the defense but might not be allowed in court today when the first of as many as 35 prosecution witnesses take the stand. Tight security surrounds the proceedings, which are starting again after a five-week recess in a specially built courtroom in the heavily guarded Green Zone. The precise starting time was not announced due to fear of attack by Saddam’s supporters or opponents – or both. The eight from Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority were apprehended Saturday in the northern city of Kirkuk on suspicion of plotting murder, police Col. Anwar Qadir said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals He said they were carrying written instructions from a former top Saddam deputy, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, to kill judge Raed Juhi, who prepared the case against Saddam and forwarded it to the trial court in July. Al-Douri, the highest ranking member of the Saddam regime still at large, is believed to be at least the symbolic leader of Saddam loyalists fighting U.S. forces and Iraq’s new government. “As an Iraqi citizen and a judge, I am vulnerable to assassination attempts,” Juhi told The Associated Press. “If I thought about this danger, then I would not be able to perform my job. … I will practice my profession in a way that serves my country and satisfies my conscience.” Saddam and seven co-defendants are charged in the killing of more than 140 Shiite Muslims after an assassination attempt against the former president in the Shiite town of Dujail in 1982. Convictions could bring a sentence of death by hanging. Insecurity from the predominantly Sunni insurgency has complicated efforts to put Saddam on trial and forced draconian measures. For example, names of four of the five trial judges have been kept secret, and some of the 35 witnesses may testify behind curtains to protect them from reprisal. last_img read more