Judge Turns Away Saddam Lawyer

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


WASHINGTON — A federal judge turned aside one of Saddam Hussein's lawyers who wants an American court to step in and issue a stay of execution.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan refused to allow Italian lawyer Giovanni di Stefano to file a motion with the court because the attorney had not been admitted to practice in federal courts in Washington, D.C.

The decision was in an order issued last Wednesday.

In Amman, Jordan, di Stefano said he wants the court to overturn Saddam's death sentence.

Di Stefano's effort came in a lawsuit in which Saddam is a defendant. He and former subordinates are being sued in Sullivan's court by the son of an Iraqi author allegedly executed by Saddam's government.

Khalil al-Dulaimi, Saddam's chief lawyer, confirmed that di Stefano is part of Saddam's defense team of Arab and international lawyers assisting and advising the core team of nine lawyers.

Even if a U.S. court were to get involved and rule in favor of a stay, there is no indication the Iraqi judiciary would abide by the decision.

An Iraqi court condemned Saddam and two senior members of his government to death for killing 148 people in the northern Iraq town of Dujail. The victims, who included children, were detained after a 1982 attempt to assassinate Saddam.

The verdicts and sentences have been referred to an appeals court, which is expected to rule by mid-January. If the appeals court upholds the death sentence, Saddam could be hanged early next year, according to a schedule announced last month by Iraq's chief prosecutor.

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