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Saddam lawyer accuses court of ignoring requests for appeal papers

Saddam Hussein's lawyer today accused the Iraqi court that sentenced the former president to death of ignoring his requests for the documents to appeal against the guilty verdict.

Khalil al-Dulaimi, chief lawyer to the former leader, said in a written statement that the Iraqi High Tribunal was "deliberately procrastinating" to "obstruct defense efforts."

Five Iraqi judges sentenced Saddam and two other senior members of his regime to death by hanging on November 5 for the killing of 148 people in the northern town of Dujail.

The victims, who include children, were detained and tortured after a 1982 attempt to assassinate the then-president. An appeals court is expected to rule on the verdict and death sentence by mid-January.

Saddam's defence team must present an appeal to a higher, nine-judge panel by December 5.

If the nine-judge panel upholds the death sentence, it could be implemented early next year, according to a schedule announced last week by chief Iraqi prosecutor Jaafar Moussawi.

There was no immediate comment from Iraqi court officials.

The lower house of Russian parliament today warned that the execution of Saddam Hussein could lead to further escalation of violence in Iraq.

The Kremlin-controlled State Duma unanimously approved a statement saying that ``carrying out the death sentence wouldn't solve existing problems of the long-suffering people of Iraq, but may create new ones and trigger a new wave of harsh confrontation, revenge and hostility.''

The Duma voiced hope that "the further consideration of Saddam Hussein's fate would take into account possible negative consequences of carrying out the verdict for a peaceful domestic dialogue in Iraq."

Russia has been a consistent critic of the US-led military campaign in Iraq.


From Belfast Telegraph