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Shiite named as acting judge in Saddam's trial

A judge from Iraq's Shiite majority will take over as acting chief judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2006 21:31 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

A judge from Iraq's Shiite majority, oppressed under Saddam Hussein, will take over as acting chief judge in the trial of the deposed dictator, the chief prosecutor in the case said on Tuesday.

Said al-Hammashi, one of a five-strong panel of judges trying Saddam, will replace Rizkar Mohammed Amin who has handed in his resignation, said Jaafar al-Mussawi.

The trial which recessed in December resumes next Tuesday.

Hammashi will only hold the key role on a temporary basis until the judges at the Iraqi High Tribunal elect a new permanent chief judge for the trial, Mussawi said.

"The election should happen in about one month," Mussawi informed.

He was unable to say whether Amin would remain on Saddam's panel of judges.

Hammashi was born in Baghdad in 1952 to a Shiite family, said one of his colleagues, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He graduated from the law department of Baghdad University and went on to become a practising lawyer during the Saddam regime, which was brought to an end by the US-led invasion in March 2003, the colleague said.

Hammashi was later sent to Italy and Britain to learn more about crimes against humanity in preparation for the Saddam trial. Speaking to the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday before his taking on the job, Hammashi indicated his willingness to assume the high-profile role.

"If judge Rizkar Mohammed Amin maintains his decision to resign, I am ready to be the chief judge at the next hearing," he was quoted as saying.

First Published: Jan 17, 2006 21:31 IST