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Saddam a 'lion' in court
( Thursday, October 20, 2005 )
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Saddam Hussein's eldest daughter, Raghad, branded the opening of her father's trial on Wednesday as a "farce" and boasted that the ousted Iraqi leader behaved like a "lion" during the proceedings. "It's up to you to make up your mind about what you saw (but) the people's verdict has already been reached on this farce. "End of story," she told Arab television station Al-Arabiya from the Jordanian capital.
Asked about comments by Iraqi officials that Saddam appeared tired and subdued during the first day of his trial on charges of crimes against humanity, Raghad said: "Saddam is a hero and he will remain a hero and when thugs speak they should describe themselves. "I have never seen a more beautiful, courageous and fantastic father than this. "What is better than the sight of a lion resisting occupation, saying no and sacrificing his family and position for his principles and his country."
Raghdad, who lives in Amman, said she watched footage of the trial on television with her children and kept in contact during the proceedings with Saddam's wife Sajida and two other daughters Rana and Hala.
They have all been living outside Iraq since the US-led invasion of March 2003. Raghad refused to answer questions about the charges against Saddam, his defence team or what the family intends to do next.
In Amman, earlier a member of the former dictator's defence team told AFP that Raghad was convinced of her father's innocence. "I cannot speak on her behalf, after all President Saddam is her father, but her morale is good because she is confident of his innocence," said Issam Ghazzawi.
"Mrs Raghad is, however, upset with the way the trial is being conducted and because of the absence of lawyers requested by her father," he added, referring to a large team of Arab and Western lawyers, including former US attorney general Ramsey Clark. Lone Iraqi lawyer Khalil Dulaimi represented Saddam in the highly-watched trial inside Baghdad's Green Zone.
The Amman team had sought to raise an international defence committee, but their request was turned down by the Iraqi special tribunal hearing the case. Ghazzawi charged that Dulaimi was appointed "in an uprecedented, unnatural and illegal manner" and imposed on Saddam. "The basic rule is that a defendant must choose his own lawyer," he said.
"Nevertheless Khalil carried a miraculous task and has been the only link between President Saddam and the outside world," Ghazzawi said. "My personal feelings is that this trial is a tragedy for the entire world and that it will create a precedent" by which the United States will be able to put on trial anyone it chooses, he said.
"You can even expect (French President Jacques) Chirac to be wanted by America if his policies contract US interests," he added. "This is the first raindrop of the downpour," he added. "If the trial is half fair then I am confident of the results but a trial conducted in this fashion raises many questions," he added.
He also reiterated charges that the tribunal was illegal "because it was set up under American occupation, which is itself illegal and oppressive" during the mandate of former US administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer.
Saddam is led into court for interrogation on July 1, 2004, at Camp Victory, a former Saddam palace on the outskirts of Baghdad.
Related News - News14
Saddam scuffles with guards as trial opens Wednesday, October 19, 2004
A defiant Saddam Hussein pleaded innocent to charges of murder and torture as his long-awaited trial began Wednesday with the one-time dictator arguing about the legitimacy of the court and scuffling with guards. The first session of the trial lasted about three hours, and the judge ordered an adjournment until Nov. 28. Saddam and his seven co-defendants could face the death penalty if convicted for the 1982 massacre of nearly 150 Shiites in the town of Dujail. They are being tried in the former headquarters of Saddam's Baath Party. After presiding judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin, a Kurd, read the defendants their rights and the charges against them — which also include forced expulsions and illegal imprisonment — he asked each for their plea. He started with the 68-year-old ousted dictator, saying "Mr. Saddam, go ahead. Are you guilty or innocent?" Saddam — holding a copy of the Quran he brought with him into the session and held throughout — replied quietly, "I said what I said. I am not guilty," referring to....... More
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