Saddam Trial Update
Various news items to report:
- As expected, the Iraqi High Tribunal sentenced Saddam’s Vice-President, Yassin Ramadan, to death last month. The IHT’s re-sentencing hearing was as flawed as the trial itself; according to Human Rights Watch, “[t]he less than 30-minute hearing was held by a panel of five judges, three of whom had not previously participated in hearing evidence against the defendant… The Trial Chamber refused to hear defense submissions on their motions in court. Neither oral nor written reasons were given for changing the sentence from life imprisonment to death by hanging.” The IHT’s Appeals Chamber will review the increased sentence next week.
- Has Rauf Abdel Rahman, the judge who presided over Saddam’s trial, fled Iraq to seek asylum in Britain? Al-Jazeera reports that he has — but the Iraqi High Tribunal insists that he is simply on vacation. Stay tuned.
- Not surprisingly, the Kurds are upset that Saddam was executed so quickly, depriving them of their day in court for the atrocities committed in Anfal and Halabja.
- Mohammed Azzawi, Saddam’s acquitted co-defendant, was released in February. The U.S. handed him over to the Iraqis three months after he was acquitted, ostensibly “due to legal procedures.” Ironic how much more quickly the U.S. handed over the defendants who were sentenced to death…
- Finally, in a new low for consumerism, a line of fruit juices is now being sold in Serbia that bear the names and images of Saddam, Castro, Tito, and Che Guevara (who really doesn’t belong in the same category with the others). Guevara is raspberry, Castro is blackberry, and Tito is blueberry.