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Remove judge: Saddam's lawyers

Lawyers of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein have called for the trial's new judge, Rauf Rasheed Abdel Rahman, to be removed.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2006 15:17 IST

Lawyers for former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein have called for the trial's new judge, Rauf Rasheed Abdel Rahman, to be removed before they return to the courtroom.

This was informed by Saddam lawyer Khalil Dulaimi on Wednesday.

Saddam's trial was to resume later in the day with the judge under intense scrutiny after his strict approach left the court bereft of all its high profile defendants.

Abdel Rahman left his mark in the first session of the trial under his control on Sunday during which Saddam walked out, followed by two other high-profile defendants.

Defence lawyer Saleh al-Armuti was also ejected by order of the judge, resulting in a full walk-out of the defence team and their replacement by court appointed lawyers.

Dulaimi, in a statement published just hours before the court was due to resume sitting, laid out 11 conditions for the defense team to end their boycott.

Among those demands, alongside the sacking of the judge, was the removal of the trial "to a country which can offer security".

The defence team "has unanimously decided to boycott the trial and not take further part until its reasonable and objective demands for a fair, honest, transparent and public trial are met," the statement said.

The defence also called for "effective protection to be given to the lawyers and their families and that the US and the Iraqi governments work to protect them."

Two defence lawyers were assassinated in the first weeks of the trial last year.

The Saddam defence lawyers also asked "to be able to contact, in a calm atmosphere, witnesses of the defense as well as the accused and to be allowed freedom of movement" to accomplish this.

First Published: Feb 01, 2006 11:53 IST