Militants execute second Saddam trial defense lawyer

AFP , BAGHDAD

Wed, Nov 09, 2005 - Page 7

A lawyer working for one of the co-defendants of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein on trial on crimes against humanity was shot dead by armed men in Baghdad yesterday, while a colleague was wounded, interior ministry and legal sources said.

Adel Mohammed Abbas was killed when armed gunmen opened fire on him and lawyer Tamer Hammud Hadi at 1:30pm in the Adl neighborhood of Baghdad, an interior ministry source said.

Abbas was a lawyer for former vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan, a member of the powerful Revolution Command Council who had been one of Saddam's closest aides. Ramadan was known as one of the regime's "enforcers."

Hadi is helping with the defense of Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a Saddam half-brother who once headed the feared Mukhabarat intelligence service.

Barzan remained one of Saddam's most trusted aides and managed Saddam's personal fortune until 1995. He is also believed to have coordinated covert purchases in Europe for the regime's prized weapons programs.

All eight defendants face charges that they shared responsibility for the 1982 massacre of more than 140 Shiite villagers from Dujail, north of the capital.

Another attorney representing a Saddam co-defendant, Saadun Janabi, was kidnapped and executed by unknown assailants on Oct. 20, one day after the trial opened in Baghdad.

Janabi was representing Awad Ahmad al-Bandar, a former chief judge of the revolutionary court and deputy head of Saddam's office.

On Sunday, lawyers representing Saddam and his co-defendants extended their suspension of contacts -- first announced late last month -- with the high tribunal trying the case until they are given better security.

The lawyers put forward 10 conditions for ending their protest, including an independent international investigation into Janabi's killing, UN protection for meetings of the defense committee and the hiring of 15 bodyguards per lawyer to ensure their protection.

The trial of Saddam and his seven co-defendants opened on Oct. 19. All pleaded not guilty. If convicted they could be executed.