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September 07, 2005 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-07

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10A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Talabani says Saddam
confessed to 'killings


BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's president said yes-
terday that Saddam Hussein had confessed to
killings and other "crimes" committed during
his regime, including the massacre of thousands
of Kurds in the late 1980s.
President Jalal Talabani told Iraqi television
that he had been informed by an investigating
judge that "he was able to extract confessions
from Saddam's mouth" about crimes "such as
executions" that the ousted leader had person-
ally ordered.
Asked about specific examples, Talabani, a
Kurd, replied "Anfal," the codename for the
1987-88 campaign which his Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan maintains led to the deaths of about
182,000 Kurds and the destruction of "dozens of
Kurdish villages."
Those villages included Halabja, where thou-
sands of Kurdish villagers were gassed in 1988.
However, Abdel Haq Alani, a legal consultant
to Saddam's family said Saddam did not men-
tion any confession when he met Monday with
his Iraqi lawyer.
"Is this the fabrication of TalAbani or what? Let's
not have a trial on TV. Let the court of law, not the
media, make its ruling on this," Alani said.
Saddam faces his first trial Oct. 19 for his
alleged role in another atrocity - the 1982 mas-
sacre of Shiites in Dujail, a town north of Bagh-
dad, following an assassination attempt there
against him.
The Iraqi Special Tribunal has decided to con-
duct trials on separate alleged offenses rather than
lump them all together in a single proceeding.
Saddam could face the death penalty if con-
victed in the Dujail case, the only one referred
to trial so far.
Iraqi television aired the interview so late
that it was impossible to reach Saddam's law-

yer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, or officials of the special
Alani, however, condemned Talabani's
remarks and said the alleged confession "comes
to me as a surprise, a big surprise."
"I have heard nothing whatsoever about this
alleged media speculation," Alani told The
Associated Press in Amman, Jordan. "This is
a matter for the judiciary to decide on, not for
politicians and Jalal should know better than
that. Why should he make a statement on the
accused to the public? The court, the judge need
to decide on this."
Saddam's former chief lawyer, Ziad Kha-
sawneh of Jordan, said the Iraqi president could
still face the death penalty if he confessed, but a
full trial would not be necessary if he admitted
to the charge.
However, details of the purported confessions
were unclear. It was uncertain, for example,
whether Saddam believed he was admitting to
a crime or simply acknowledging having issued
orders which he believed were legal - some-
thing only a trial could determine.
Operation Anfal took place during Iraq's war
with Iran, which the Iraqi government believed
maintained ties to the Iraqi Kurds.
The 1991 suppression of Iraqi Shiites, another
atrocity for which Saddam may face charges,
occurred after the majority rose up after U.S.-led
forces drove the Iraqi army from Kuwait. Shiite
leaders had hoped - wrongly - that the Ameri-
cans would intervene on their behalf.
Saddam's lawyers could argue that Talabani's
comments were prejudicial, which might not
sway an Iraqi court but would have resonance
abroad and within the country's already disaf-
fected Sunni Arab minority, of which the former
president is a member.

calls for
WASHINGTON (AP) - President
Bush said the list of possibilities for his
second U.S. Supreme Court nomina-
tion was "wide open" yesterday as Sen-
ate Republicans urged him to consider
a woman and Democrats pressed him
to consult with them before making his
next pick.
The president said the Senate should
concentrate on confirming U.S. Appeals
Judge John Roberts to replace the late
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist before
worrying about any other choices.
"I want the Senate to focus not on who
the next nominee is going to be, but the
nominee I got up there now," Bush said.
Roberts's confirmation hearing before
the Senate Judiciary Committee will
begin next Monday, one week after Bush
named him to replace the justice he
worked for as a Supreme Court law clerk.
Roberts'was originally slated to be Sandra
Day O'Connor's replacement, but Bush
formally withdrew that nomination yes-
terday and made the 50-year-old judge the
chief justice nominee.
O'Connor has agreed to stay on until
her successor is in place, Bush noted,
ensuring there will be a nine-member
court if Roberts is confirmed before the
new term begins on Oct. 3.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-
Tenn.) and Judiciary chairman Arlen
Specter (R-Pa.) said they expected to be
finished with Roberts before then.
Specter and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
of Texas - who will be the Senate's No. 3
Republican next year - said Bush should
choose a woman since O'Connor's retire-
ment would leave only one woman on the
court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
"Two women, I think, are a minimum,"
Several senators suggested the
president should wait before making
any new selection public, given that
the Senate is working on relief for the
hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast as well
as Roberts's nomination. "We've got
more than a full plate right now," said
John Cornyn (R-Texas).
"I think you should do one nomination
at a time, even though it would be nice to
know who the president is thinking of,"
added Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY.).

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is seen as he is questioned by Chief Investigative
Judge Raid Juhi, not seen, at an unknown location. Iraqi authorities have set Oct. 19 as
the date for the start of the trial of Hussein, an official said last week.

Investigators seek clues to Indonesian plane crash

MEDAN, Indonesia (AP) - A 5-
year-old boy given up for dead in a
plane crash in Indonesia that killed 148
people has been found in a hospital and
reunited with his parents.
Investigators sifted yesterday
through the charred wreckage of the
Mandala Airlines' Boeing 737-200, try-
ing to determine why it slammed onto
a crowded street in Indonesia's third-
largest city, creating a path of destruc-
tion as it plowed into houses, cars and
The dead in Monday's crash included
101 passengers and crew and 47 people
on the ground. Sixteen people aboard
the flight survived, including 5-year-old
Pento Panjaitan, who had been travel-
ing to Jakarta with his father.
Both were injured and taken to dif-

ferent hospitals, said Rini, a nurse at
the Santa Elizabeth Hospital. His iden-
tity - and the fact that he had been on
the plane - did not become clear until
late Monday, when the boy "started
crying and looking for his dad," the
nurse said.
Others were not so lucky. Hundreds
of weeping family members gathered
yesterday at the Adam Malik Hospital
morgue, looking for loved ones among
a long row of charred bodies. Some
women collapsed as they lifted the plas-
tic yellow sheets in search of clues - a
piece of clothing, jewelry, a familiar
pair of shoes.
Remains not identified by this morn-
ing will be buried in a mass grave next
to another for victims of a Garuda Indo-
nesia plane crash that killed more than

200 in 1997, said Dr. Suprato, the assis-
tant director of the Adam Malik Hos-
pital in Medan, who was helping with
recovery efforts.
By late yesterday, 40 corpses - most
burned beyond recognition - had yet
to be claimed.
Togi Simaranta, 35, didn't know what
his cousin was wearing, but after more
than 24 hours of searching still was not
ready to give up.
"My cousin came to Medan with his
wife for a holiday, and they were head-
ing home," Simaranta said, appearing
weak and drained. "I don't even know
what clothes they had on. But I want
to keep looking, I have to, until tomor-
row's deadline."
Transport Minister Hatta Raja-
sa said it would be several weeks

before the cause of the crash was
known, but investigators were look-
ing at what happened during take-
off. Both flight data recorders have
been found, officials said, and will
be sent abroad for analysis.
The U.S. National Transportation
Safety Board sent a three-member team
to assist in the investigation, U.S. offi-
cials said.
Survivors said the plane shook vio-
lently after lifting off the runway and
veered left before crashing to the ground.
Some described a loud bang while the
aircraft was still in flight, but officials
were quick to rule out terrorism - an
ever present fear in the world's most
populous Muslim nation and home to
the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah
militant group.

Soon after dawn yesterday, investi-
gators arrived at the massive crash site
yards from the runway.
The area was taped off, but police
were unable to keep people from the
scene. Hundreds milled about, cover-
ing their noses with handkerchiefs as
they pointed at the plane's tail, a piece
of the wing and twisted knots of black-
ened metal.
Setio Raharjo, head of the National
Transportation Safety Board and the
lead investigator, said the curious
onlookers could be hampering efforts
to get to the bottom of the crash.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoy-
ono toured the crash site on Sumatra
island after attending the funeral of
the north Sumatra governor, one of
the victims.


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