Calls to move Saddam trial after second lawyer killed

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The Independent Online

Adel al-Zubeidi, representing the former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan, was shot dead, and Thamir al-Khuzaie, a fellow member of the defence team, was wounded in an ambush.

This was the second killing of lawyers who were acting for Saddam and seven other defendants. Saadoun al-Jananbi was killed last month just days after appearing in the special court trying the case in the Iraqi capital. Defence lawyers said afterwards that they may boycott the proceedings until they are provided with adequate security.

Mr Zubeidi and Mr Khuzaie were attacked by three gunmen in Adil, a Sunni neighbourhood. Khalil al-Dulaimi, Saddam's main lawyer, alleged that the shooting was done by "an armed group using government vehicles".

He said: "The aim of these organised attacks is to scare Arab and foreign lawyers. We call upon the international community to send a committee to investigate because the situation is becoming unbearable."

The case is due to recommence on 28 November. But Richard Goldstone, the first prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, said that the time had come to move the court. He said: "I don't understand how you can have a fair trial in this atmosphere of insecurity with bombs going off. It is just impossible to have a public trial if you can't guarantee the safety of witnesses, judges or defence counsel."