Fri, Jun 23, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Saddam on hunger strike

AFP , BAGHDAD

Deposed former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has gone on hunger strike to protest the killing of one of his lawyers, his lead lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi said yesterday.

"Saddam and 55 other detainees [former regime officials] are on a hunger strike since yesterday after the killing of Khamis al-Obeidi," Dulaimi said.

Dulaimi said Saddam and the others wanted US and international committees to give guarantees "for the security of the other defense lawyers."

He said he came to know of the strike "through our special contacts."

A US military spokesman, on being contacted about the protest, said he was "unaware of the strike and will check it out."

Dulaimi said the defense team had even contacted the "United Nations and the Arab League and other parties concerning the trial to do everything to protect the lawyers."

Obeidi was the third defense lawyer for Saddam and his seven former henchmen to have been killed since their trial on charges of crimes against humanity started in October.

Obeidi was snatched on Wednesday by about 20 men from his home and later shot dead in the middle of a Baghdad street.

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