AMMAN, Jordan – Saddam Hussein urged Iraqis on Sunday to reject the sectarian violence ripping his country apart and to "not take revenge" on "invading" forces, his chief lawyer said after the ousted leader was sentenced to death.
Saddam expressed his views shortly before he and two co-defendants were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes in the 1982 killings of 148 people in the town of Dujail.
Saddam "knew that he would be sentenced to death and wanted me to pass on this message to the Iraqi people and to the whole world after the verdict was announced," Khalil al-Dulaimi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Baghdad.
"His message to the Iraqi people was 'pardon and do not take revenge on the invading nations and their people'," al-Dulaimi said. "The president also asked his countrymen to 'unify in the face of sectarian strife'."
"The president said that 'Saddam Hussein won't be defeated," the attorney added. "He said the people will remain strong and steadfast."
Al-Dulaimi condemned Saddam's trial as a "farce," claiming the verdict was planned. He said defense attorneys would appeal within 30 days.
"Since day one, we said the trial was politically motivated 100 percent and that it's completely illegal," he said. "The defense voice was not allowed to be heard at all."
Al-Dulaimi also said that the security situation in Baghdad was "very dangerous."
"Iranian intelligence and U.S. invaders are patrolling around. There's nobody else on the streets," he said. "Baghdad looks like a ghost town."