Saddam Hussein's (search) daughter has devised a strategy for the defense of Iraq's ousted leader, including a media campaign and hiring of a new team of international lawyers, for the expected start of her father's trial next month, she said Saturday.
Raghad Saddam Hussein (search) said in a statement that the "future work plan" for the next six weeks was drafted after three days of consultations in Amman with unnamed legal consultants from Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan and Lebanon.
Her announcement came a day after an Iraqi official in Baghdad said authorities have set Oct. 19 as the start date for Saddam's trial, which will follow a referendum on the new constitution.
But a Western diplomat in Iraq has discounted the report as "posturing" without providing further details.
Saddam is to face the first of perhaps a dozen trials before the Iraqi Special Tribunal (search) next month. In July, the tribunal accused Saddam and three others in the 1982 massacre of about 150 Shiites in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad (search), killings allegedly carried out in retaliation for a failed assassination attempt against Saddam.
The daughter's statement said a new "legal committee of international lawyers" will be formed to replace a squabbling assemblage of more than 1,500 Arab and Western attorneys fired last month amid accusations the group was harmful to Saddam because of conflicting legal advice and bickering among its members.
Saddam's family has retained only Iraqi lawyer Khalil Dulaimi (search), who has met Saddam at least once since the legal team was fired Aug. 8.
The new team will assist Dulaimi and "prepare the necessary legal defense when the trial takes place," according to Saddam's daughter's written statement made available to The Associated Press.
It said Dulaimi will also pick some Iraqi lawyers to help him in "preparing a legal defense in accordance with the laws of Iraq."
Saddam will be "briefed on their names in order to give his approval," it added. It did not name the lawyers nor say when they will be hired. At least two sources close to Saddam's daughter declined comment.
Last month, Abdel Haq Alani (search), a Britain-based lawyer working as Raghad Saddam Hussein's legal consultant, said Saddam's family had approached a Queen's Council barrister — the grouping of Britain's top lawyers — to "instruct in the preparation of the defense and to assist Mr. Dulaimi in leading the defense."
Alani was not immediately available for comment Saturday.
Other steps in Raghad Saddam Hussein's defense strategy include "establishing a political and media affairs committee to keep the Arab and international public opinion well informed on developments in the case and to keep in touch with Arab organizations abroad, as well as with civil society organizations all over the world," the statement said without elaborating.
It said Saddam's family will "seek to find financial resources to support the defense efforts and to cover the expenses" of volunteers, including administrative and legal assistants to the defense team.