2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 30, 2006
Saddam's trial degenerates into chaos
NEWS IN BRIEF
After new judge expels
co-defendant and lawyer
from courtroom, Hussein
engages in shouting match
BAGHDAD (AP) - A new judge
cracked down yesterday in a chaotic ses-
sion of Saddam Hussein's trial,ordering a
co-defendant and a lawyer expelled from
the courtroom. The entire defense team
left in protest and Saddam was escorted
out after a shouting match in which he
yelled, "Down with America!"
Despite the turmoil, chief judge Raouf
Rasheed Abdel-Rahman pushed ahead,
replacing the defense lawyers with court-
appointed attorneys and hearing three
prosecution witnesses before adjourning
the trial until later this week.
It was Abdel-Rahman's first ses-
sion at the helm, replacing a jurist who
stepped down amid criticism that he
was not doing enough to stop Saddam
and his half brother, co-defendant Bar-
zan Ibrahim, from dominating the trial
with frequent outbursts and disruptions.
Defense lawyers criticized the tough
approach, saying it was preventing Sad-
dam and his seven co-defendants from
getting a fair trial. The eight could face
death by hanging if convicted in the
killing of at least 140 Shiites after a July
1982 attempt on Saddam's life in the
town of Dujail north of Baghdad.
Former U.S. Attorney General
Ramsey Clark, who is part of Saddam's
defense team but did not attend Sun-
day's session, denounced the court as
"lawless" and repeated calls for it to be
moved out of Iraq.
"Now the court is seated without the
defendants' counsel of choice. This is
wrong," Clark said, speaking from New
Abdel-Rahman wasted little time in
distinguishing himself from his pre-
decessor, Rizgar Mohammed Amin,
telling the court at the start of the pro-
ceedings that anyone who broke the
rules would be thrown out.
The session, which was the first
since Dec. 22, rapidly degenerated into
chaos. Ibrahim called the court "the
daughter of a whore" and refused to
sit down. Abdel-Rahman ordered him
removed, and Ibrahim scuffled with
two guards before they dragged him
out of the courtroom.
Then defense lawyer Salih al-
Armouti, a Jordanian, was forcibly
removed from the court for yelling at
The entire defense team walked out
in protest. "This is an unjust and ille-
gitimate court," Khalil al-Dulaimi,
Saddam's chief lawyer, told the judge on
the way out.
Protesting Ibrahim's expulsion and
shouting "down with traitors" and
"down with America," Saddam got
into a heated argument with the judge,
rejecting the court-appointed lawyers
and demanding to leave.
When the judge ordered guards to
remove him, Saddam - holding a
Quran under his arm - became indig-
nant, saying he was choosing to go and
referring to his time in power.
"For 35 years I led you, and you say,
Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein gestures during his trial held under tight
security in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone yesterday.
Israel may cut off Palestinian aid
Israel ruled out contacts with a Palestinian government led by Hamas
unless the Islamic group renounces violence and threatened yesterday to
"liquidate" militants if they resume attacking Israelis.
Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel will stop the monthly
transfer of tens of millions of dollars in tax rebates and other funds to the
Palestinian Authority if a Hamas government is installed.
With the latest comments, Israel showed no signs of backing down from
the hard line it has taken since Hamas won a surprising landslide victory in
Palestinian legislative elections last week.
Hamas, which opposes the existence of Israel and has killed hundreds
of Israelis in suicide bomb attacks, is expected to lead the next Palestinian
government, hurting the chances for a peace deal.
Bush urged to disclose Abramoff contacts
Republican lawmakers said yesterday that President Bush should publicly dis-
close White House contacts with Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who has pleaded
guilty to felony charges in an influence-peddling case.
Releasing the records would help eliminate suspicions that Abramoff, who
helped raise more than $100,000 for Bush's re-election campaign, had undue influ-
ence on the White House, the Republicans said.
"I'm one who believes that more is better, in terms of disclosure and transpar-
ency," said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) "And so I'd be a big advocate for making
records that are out there available."
The president has refused to reveal how much access Abramoff had to the White
House, but has said he does not know Abramoff personally. Bush has said federal
prosecutors are welcome to see the records of Abramoff's contacts if they suspect
something inappropriate, but he has not released them publicly.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who appeared with Thune on "Fox News Sunday,"
said all White House correspondence, phone calls and meetings with Abramoff
"absolutely" should be released.
Polish roof collapse kills at least 66
Rescuers said they did not expect to find any more survivors or bodies yesterday
under the twisted wreckage of an exhibition hall in southern Poland that collapsed
during a racing pigeon show, killing at least 66 people and injuring 160.
Rescue crews used hand tools for 20 hours in bitterly cold temperatures to carve
through the sheet metal and snarled poles of the collapsed building so as not to risk
harming any potential survivors.
But Katowice fire chief Kazimierz Krzowski said yesterday that large machin-
ery was being called in to tear down the rest of the building.
"There is a low possibility that people are still trapped under there," Krzowski
'Eject him?"' Saddam said.
"I am a judge and you are a defen-
dant," Abdel-Rahman replied. "And
you have violated order in the court. I
am implementing the law."
After two more defendants asked to
leave, the trial continued - with only
four defendants present and none of
their original lawyers.
The court-appointed lawyers declined
opportunities to cross-examine the
three witnesses, who all spoke of mass
detentions and torture after the attempt
on Saddam's life.
Richard Dicker, the head of the
International Justice Program at New
York-based Human Rights Watch, said
the failure to question the witnesses
was "probably the most disturbing
part of the day."
"The events take us further away
from the basic practices of fairness that
are necessary in any trial and especially
in a trial of this significance," he said.
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Sen. Obama criticizes filibuster tactic
To more effectively oppose Supreme Court nominees in the future, Dem-
ocrats need to convince the public "their values are at stake" rather than use
stalling tactics to try to thwart the president, said a senator who opposes
Samuel Alito's confirmation. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), predicted yester-
day that an effort to try to block a final vote on Alito would fail today. That
would clear the way for Senate approval tomorrow of the federal appeals
court judge picked to succeed the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
A story in last week's Statement magazine (Regent sells pizzas and helps children)
incorrectly said that the Champions for Children campaign is raising funds to reno-
vate C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. The campaign is actually fundraising for a new
facility for the children's and women's hospitals at the University.
Please report any error in the Daily to corrections@,michigandaily.com.
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