Saddam tribunal judge assassinated in Baghdad

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The Independent Online

A judge on the special tribunal that will put Saddam Hussein and members of his former regime on trial was assassinated in the Iraqi capital, according to an Iraqi police official and a media report.

A judge on the special tribunal that will put Saddam Hussein and members of his former regime on trial was assassinated in the Iraqi capital, according to an Iraqi police official and a media report.

Judge Barwez Mohammed Mahmoud and a relative were killed yesterday in northern Baghdad's Azamyiah district, the official said today.

Al-Arabiya, the Dubai-based satellite TV news network, reported that the judge and his son died in the attack. The network said the men were killed near their house in northern Baghdad. The New York Times reported that the son, Aryan Mahmoud, was a lawyer with the special tribunal.

The judges on the special tribunal have not even been identified in public because of concerns for their safety, but Mahmoud was apparently the first one to die in Iraq's insurgency. Officials with the Iraqi government and the Iraqi special tribunal couldn't be reached today for comment.

Mahmoud's role on the tribunal was unclear, but the law establishing it called for up to 20 investigative judges and up to 20 prosecutors. It also said the tribunal would have one or more trial chambers, each with five judges.

The killings came just one day after five former members of Saddam Hussein's regime - including one of his half brothers - were referred to trial for crimes against humanity.

Today, a car bomb exploded outside an Iraqi army base in central Baghdad, killing six soldiers and wounding 25, police said. The blast occurred at a base located at the former Muthanna airport, police officer Salam Hashim Mahmoud said.

The violence came as thousands of mostly black-clad Iraqis protested outside a medical clinic in Hillah, a city 60 miles south of the capital where a suicide car bomber killed 125 people a day earlier.

The protesters, braving the threat of another attack as they waved clenched fists, condemned foreign fighters and chanted "No to terrorism!"

Police prevented people from parking cars in front of the clinic or the hospital, where authorities blocked hospital gates with barbed wire to stave off hundreds of victims' relatives desperate for information on loved ones.

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