As a Protest, Saddam Fails To Appear

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The New York Sun

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Saddam Hussein and his lawyers announced a boycott of his trial yesterday, citing bias and lack of security.

The lawyers for Saddam and three of his top co-defendants said they would not attend the trial to protest the killing last month of Khamis al-Obeidi, one of the top members of the defense team, by gunmen who kidnapped him from his home in Baghdad.

Saddam notified the chief judge in a letter that he too would boycott the court because it “lacks the lawful proceedings that are well established in international and Iraqi law.”

“There’s a deliberate attempt to convict us as a result of a malicious American desire, aided by disgusting collaborators in Iraq,” Saddam wrote in the letter sent Sunday and provided to the Associated Press by his lawyers.

The move came as the trial entered its final phase, with the defense presenting its closing arguments. Two lower-level defendants, Ali Dayih and Mohammed Azawi, made their final statements before the trial adjourned until today, when more defendants will be heard.

The boycott raises the likelihood that Saddam will not make a final statement when his turn comes, expected later this week. If his lawyers are still boycotting the court, it will appoint lawyers to make Saddam’s final arguments, a court spokesman, Raid Juhi, said.

The New York Sun

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