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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Iraqis too terrified to try Saddam?

In the United States it is not be unheard of to bind and gag the defendant to make him sit in his trial. Such a technique is only to be used as a last resort for particularly disruptive defendants, as Saddam has already demonstrated time and again. It appears to me the Iraqis think Saddam might come back to power and start putting them in the meat grinders again.

Saddam refusing to attend trial

It shouldn't be up to Saddam. If gagging him and planting him in court isn't an option, he should be kept in his cell with a closed circuit feed of the proceedings, with a phone line so he can speak to his attorneys. This solution is preferable in some ways to gagging the defendant. But the defendant could later claim he didn't watch his own trial and therefore couldn't participate in his defense.

Negotiations were under way on how the trial can proceed, with the defence team holding talks with the chief judge.

Under Iraqi law the trial can continue without the defendant present in the courtroom.

Arrangements may be made for the former president to watch the trial on a closed circuit TV link, with the right to intervene at certain points, possibly via a microphone, BBC foreign editor John Simpson says.

This should have been arranged the moment he refused to appear. Negotiations with his defense attorneys are not proper on this issue.

Decades of repression create psychological problems in the population as a whole. The lead judge is a Kurd. He probably had a family member killed in the Anfal genocide. If his family was one of the few which didn't lose a member, or many members, almost everyone he knows did. He needs to control the proceedings and Saddam. Saddam no longer has power over life and death on a whim. The chief judge needs to make this clear to the Iraqi people.

I can imagine one of Saddam's attorneys (Ramsey Clark) suggesting all of Iraq should be recused from this case because Saddam's brutality was so widespread.

UPDATE: Trial Resumes
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The trial of Saddam Hussein resumed Wednesday after a lengthy delay but without the former president, who had declared the day before that he would not take part in an "unjust" court.

Makes we wish he waited a few seconds before surrendering.

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