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Iraqi Court: Saddam Fires Lawyers

Saddam Hussein (search) has fired his legal defense team except for an Iraqi attorney who is the only person authorized to represent him, a court said Wednesday.

A statement by the Iraqi Special Tribunal (search) said Saddam was questioned Monday about news reports that he had fired all his lawyers except for Iraqi attorney Khalil al-Dulaimi.

"Mr. Saddam confirmed that he canceled all the power of attorneys and fired them," the statement said. "At present, his only authorized defense counsel is Mr. Khalil."

The statement said al-Dulaimi will seek formal permission from the tribunal to serve as sole legal counsel to the ousted dictator, although he has attended interrogation sessions held by tribunal investigators.

Judge Raid Juhi (search) asked Saddam whether he wanted any international lawyers, counselors or advisers to assist in his defense and Saddam said no, the statement added.

Saddam's family announced in Jordan on Aug. 8 that they had dismissed the 1,500-member Arab and Western defense team. Saddam's family provided few details in a statement signed by the former Iraqi leader's eldest daughter, Raghad, who lives in Jordan.

The announcement said only that the family has hired al-Dulaimi and would "rearrange the legal defense campaign."

Saddam is to face the first of perhaps a dozen trials before the Iraqi Special Tribunal in the coming months. Last month, the tribunal accused Saddam and three others in the 1982 massacre of about 150 Shiites in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad, killings allegedly carried out in retaliation for a failed assassination attempt against Saddam.

He could receive the death penalty if convicted.