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By Charles Pugsley Fincher, A Spin-Off of ThadeusandWeez.com
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From WashingtonPost.com:

Specter Urges Discipline in Hussein Trial
Senator, in Baghdad, Says Judges Have Let Ex-Leader 'Dominate the Proceedings'
By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, December 28, 2005; A15

BAGHDAD, Dec. 27 -- Saddam Hussein's judges should take control of his chaotic trial, Sen. Arlen Specter said here Tuesday, either by holding him in contempt for his repeated disruptions of the proceedings or banishing him from the courtroom.

Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said U.S. officials in Baghdad had told him that they expect Hussein to face a half-dozen trials. That would raise the prospect of months or years of proceedings unless conviction, condemnation and hanging for any one case stop the clock on trials to follow.

Specter spoke to reporters in the courtroom where Hussein and seven co-defendants are being tried on charges related to the torture and killings of more than 140 residents of the southern town of Dujail after an assassination attempt against Hussein there in 1982.

While gathering vivid accounts from weeping witnesses of retribution for the attack, the court proceedings have often been dominated by the outbursts of Hussein and his former aides. At one point he told judges, "Go to hell." His half brother and co-defendant has spit at officials and told witnesses to die. One day, all eight defendants walked out of court.

"I have been disappointed the way the court has permitted Saddam to dominate the proceedings, and I respect Iraqi sovereignty and I respect judicial independence, but it's also a fair comment to evaluate what is going on," Specter said, before a meeting with the trial judges.

"The evidence is there to portray to the world exactly what has happened here," Specter said. "You have a butcher who has butchered his own people, a torturer who has tortured his own people. . . .And that evidence ought to be presented in a systematic way."

...In an interview last week with the Arabic language, London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, chief investigating judge Raeed Juhi said authorities were ready to present cases against Hussein in the 1988 chemical bomb attack of the Kurdish town of Halabja that killed 5,000 people and a campaign that killed more than 100,000 Kurds and leveled Kurdish villages.

But Juhi added that "if the deposed president is sentenced to death in the Dujail case and is executed, all other cases against him would be dropped."

12.28.05

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