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Thread: Defiant Saddam pleads not guilty

  1. #1
    Livin the Atheist life Cesare Borgia's Avatar
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    Default Defiant Saddam pleads not guilty

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges they ordered more than 140 Iraqis killed in 1982 following a failed assassination attempt against the former Iraqi leader.

    Saddam and the others answered "innocent" when the presiding judge, Rizgar Amin, asked for their pleas.

    Amin, an ethnic Kurd, read out the charges, which include killing, forced expulsion, the imprisonment of people, torture and the failure to comply with international law.

    Explaining that the death penalty would go to anyone found guilty of killing intentionally, Amin assured the defendants of their rights, saying they were equal before the court.

    He said they were considered innocent until convicted by the court, and that every defendant had a right to a fair, honest and public trial; to know the details of the charges; and to be given enough time to prepare their defense and contact their lawyers.

    Later, Jaafar Moussawi, chief prosecuting attorney, gave a lengthy elaboration on the charges involving the massacre 23 years ago.

    Led into the courtroom as proceedings began Wednesday in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, Saddam immediately took a combative and obstinate tone.

    Asked his full name by the presiding judge, Saddam refused to give it. "You know me," Saddam said at one point. "If you're an Iraqi, then you know."

    "Mr. Saddam, we ask you only now to prove your full name, title and profession. Then you will be given a chance to talk," Amin said.

    "Who are you and what are you?" Hussein asked. "I need to know."

    "We are the criminal court in Iraq," Amin answered. "So please -- these issues have nothing to do with you, sir."

    Saddam complained that he was kept waiting for hours and was denied pen and paper.

    "I don't harbor any hatred towards any of you," he said. "But holding onto the rights, and out of respect for the Iraqi people for choosing me ... I say I don't answer this, what is called a court, with all due respect, and I reserve my constitutional right as the president of Iraq.

    "I do not recognize the body that has authorized you and I don't recognize this aggression. I do not respond to this so-called court, with all due respect."

    Later, when Amin identified him as the former president, Saddam snapped, "I said I'm the president of the republic of Iraq. I did not say deposed."

    At least one other defendant also refused to give his name, saying, "I repeat what Mr. President Saddam Hussein said."

    Other defendants appeared defiant as well.

    "What have I done?" asked Mohammed Ali. "It's all money and bribes."

    "This is not the time for this," Amin replied, telling Ali that he will have time to talk as much as he wants later.

    Amin at one point allowed defendants to don their headscarves after one requested to be able to do so.

    Tight security
    As the proceedings began, the eight defendants were led one by one into the courtroom, where they were seated in open-topped caged compartments.

    Saddam was the last to appear, escorted by two Iraqi guards wearing bulletproof vests. He was wearing a gray suit and a white, open-collar shirt.

    "His hair is black, as it's always been, his beard was black with significant gray ... a good deal older and weaker and more frail than he looked the last time I saw him come into court in the summer of 2004 when he came for his initial hearing," said CNN's Christiane Amanpour from the courthouse. (Amanpour: Saddam frail but outspoken)

    Security at the trial, being held in the former Baath Party headquarters, was extremely tight.

    "Today, it's going to be easier to get in the White House, folks. Trust me," said one of the U.S. marshals in charge of security at the court.

    Diplomats, journalists and human rights representatives began gathering in the Green Zone hours before the trial began.

    Onlookers -- who included Raed Juhi, chief investigative judge of the tribunal; Ahmed Chalabi, deputy prime minister; Leith Kubba, spokesman for Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari; and Hussein Shahristani, deputy speaker of the National Assembly -- were required to undergo full-body X-rays.

    Before the trial began, two mortars landed in the Green Zone but hit an empty area and caused no damage or injuries, police said.

    In addition, about 150 people held a pro-Saddam demonstration in Tikrit, the former leader's hometown, about 103 miles north of Baghdad.

    1982 massacre
    The prosecution of Saddam was beginning with a lesser-known case in which more than 140 Iraqis were killed in 1982 in the Sunni-Shiite town of Dujail, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

    Saddam and the seven other defendants are charged with ordering the killings and torture in Dujail in the aftermath of a failed assassination attempt on the then-Iraqi leader.

    Court officials are thought to have chosen to prosecute this case first because it is not as complex as the other charges brought against the former dictator.

    Those charges involve the gassing to death of thousands of Kurds in 1988 in Halabja and the slaughter of thousands of Shiites during their uprising in 1991, after the U.S.-led Persian Gulf War.

    In the Dujail case, media reports piece together an account of what happened, an event often referred to as "al karitha," or the disaster.

    After being greeted by enthusiastic villagers, militants from Dawa, a Shiite Arab political movement, or its followers, opened fire on Saddam and his party, reports said.

    Historians generally agree it was the closest Saddam has come to assassination.

    Many people were hanged, including teenagers, according to media reports.

    On the eve of the trial, new footage emerged of Saddam's visit to Dujail 23 years ago.

    The video -- obtained by CNN -- was shot by Saddam's personal cameraman. It shows a car carrying Saddam into the town of 75,000 people. Crowds run alongside his convoy and women later rush to kiss his hand.

    Off camera a group of young men ambush Saddam's convoy, trying to kill him. Saddam escaped injury, and the video shows him questioning people in a calm but serious manner.

    3-month delay?
    Saddam's lead attorney, Khalil Dulaimi, told CNN he plans to seek a continuance of at least three months on Wednesday because the majority of the defense lawyers are not sufficiently experienced in international law and in cases of this magnitude.

    He also said the defense team wasn't informed about the start of the trial until about three weeks ago -- which he said was in violation of the Iraqi Special Tribunal.

    "Of course, we will ask for an adjournment because it is a part of our defense strategy. The reason for this adjournment will be the fact that we were not informed in a timely manner," he said.

    Defense requests for a delay were not unexpected.

    "How long the adjournment would be would be up to the trial bench," a source close to the trial said. "I would call this the beginning of an ongoing process."

    Dulaimi said he had spoken with the former Iraqi leader Tuesday and that Hussein was in a good mood.

    "I was the one who informed him of the official start date of the trial tomorrow morning. He was not informed by the tribunal, even though the tribunal officials claimed before that they informed both the lawyer and the defendant. And again that was not true," he said.

    The attorney added: "He had very high spirits and he didn't act differently at all when I informed him because he is confident in the justice of his cause since Iraq is suffering a brute occupation by the United States -- and this occupation is not based on any legitimacy or any legal or acknowledged principle."

    Dulaimi said the defense has witnesses from all factions of the Iraqi people about the Dujail allegations and that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- what he called the bombing of Iraq "back to the Middle Ages" -- would be part of his defense.

    What to expect
    A five-person bench, including a presiding judge, was hearing the case at the Iraqi Special Tribunal inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

    The seven other defendants include Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan, half-brother and adviser to Saddam; Taha Yassin Ramadan, former vice president; and Awad Hamad al-Bandar, chief judge of Iraq's Revolutionary Court at the time of the killings.

    Defense attorneys likely will seek greater access to court materials or lawyers, and they may make motions regarding legal aspects of the case, analysts say.

    The court proceedings, which were being conducted in Arabic, will not resemble U.S. trials.

    "The judge takes a lot more control over the proceedings," the source close to the tribunal said. "You are not going to be picking a jury of 12 people and putting them in a box and having two attorneys battle things out."

    Everything that occurs in court will be up to the presiding judge, who has the power to place strict controls on every aspect of the proceedings: who can speak and when, and which witnesses can be called.

    Should a defendant be convicted and sentenced to death, the sentence could be carried out within 30 days after appeals are exhausted.

    An Iraqi government official described the trial as the beginning of the nation's psychological healing. The landmark trial was taking place just four days after Iraq's constitutional referendum and was being broadcast around the globe with a tape-delay of about 30 minutes.

  2. #2
    x marks the spot EXODUS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defiant Saddam pleads not guilty

    what would happen if saddam gave them a fake name and job. they'd hold him for content? he's kinda right, in that if they want to charge is ass for all that shit he did, they should atleast know who there charging. i know it's part of there procedure, but it's redundant. i actually agree, the means in which he was taken out power was wrong, and if they're position was created in an illegal manner, then they're 'justice' should be questionable too. legally, this should get treated like oj with the blood. they didn't acquire it through the proper channels, so it shouldn't be valid in court.

    i hope they set him free. this court crap on cnn makes it look like the iraqis are helpless, innocent people who are afraid of the big bad wolf. they should just let him loose in the nearest town, see how long he'll last...

  3. #3
    Livin the Atheist life Cesare Borgia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defiant Saddam pleads not guilty

    Are you out your fucking mind?, that mothafucka deserves to fry.
    who gives a fuck how he was taken out of power, he was and thats all that matters and it should of been done back in 1984, you know how many inocent people lost their lives because of him and how many other people were affected?

  4. #4
    x marks the spot EXODUS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defiant Saddam pleads not guilty

    they're on him for murder. in order to catch him, a shitload of soldiers were sent to kill and be killed. the invading countries can say they their soldiers signed upped, but what about all the civilians in iraq that had to die because of this shit. they went from living under a tyrant, to having to dodge bullets and rocket powered grenades, not even knowing when/if their house could get blown up. who gonna own up for those deaths? nobody's concerned with that shit cause they caught the bad guy. soldiers are murderers too. i'd understand it if they were defending their country, but their in someone else's country. they're on the offense, and someone gave the orders, just like how saddam's getting charged with giving the orders as well.

    i'm not a saddam supporter. and i'll agree that he's probably fucked up alot of his own people, but i think that the system is being run by hypocrites, and that they should have to live by the same rules as everyone else.

    when i say the should be set free, i say so because i'm sure he'd get what he deserved from the people.

    oh yeah, his lawyer was kidnapped by gunmen or something, just saw it on the news.

  5. #5
    Livin the Atheist life Cesare Borgia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Defiant Saddam pleads not guilty

    yea i seen that about his lawyar, they killed him is what i heard, Anyway i say what i say because there was something like a million pluss people who were killed or went missing during his rule as dictator, The death count would be alot higher if he was allowed to stay in power.

    good luck finding a single person in Iraq who hassent been affected by saddam in a negitive way, not to mention the people he gassed, i cant tell you how many people that killed but its wayyyyyy more than all the people who have died since the war started, We should of taken his ass out long ago, even if he diddent do anything to america, the people in iraq need a chance to live without fear and we happened to step up to the plate and its cost us as well as them.

    We do what we do so that other people can have a chance, If America was ruled by a ruthless dictator i would hope somebody would step up and at least try to help us even if it put me in danger.

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