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Saddam may vote on new Iraqi charter
(Thursday, October 13, 2005)
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Iraqi detainees -- even toppled dictator Saddam Hussein -- could have the right to vote on the country's new constitution. Farid Ayar, spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, said about 10,000 detainees held in US and Iraqi-run jails would be authorised to exercise their democratic right.
Voting will begin in the US-run Abu Ghraib prison and Camp Bucca and other Iraqi detention centres from October 13, two days before the rest of the nation is due to cast its ballot. Asked if Saddam would be able to vote, Ayar said: "If his name is on the electoral lists to be delivered by the Iraqi and American authorities, he could vote." If that is the case "Saddam will find out for the first time how to vote", he added.
Ironically the charter vote is being held three years to the day since Saddam -- who is awaiting trial on charges of crimes against humanity -- was re-elected for the last time in a referendum with 100 percent of the vote. He and seven former henchmen are due to go on trial from October 19 over the 1982 murder of 143 people following an attempt on his life in a Shiite village north of Baghdad.
The commission said local and international observers would be sent to the detention centres to oversee the vote. More than 15.5 million Iraqis are registered to vote on Saturday for a draft constitution that lays out the legal framework for a post-Saddam Iraq but has deeply divided the country along sectarian lines.
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