Saddam's Lawyers Postpone Iraq Trip

A team of lawyers claiming to represent Saddam Hussein (search) on Saturday postponed a visit to Baghdad, hours after saying its representative would defy death threats to meet with the deposed Iraqi dictator.

Mohammed Rashdan (search), who heads a defense team appointed by Saddam's wife, Sajida, said lawyer Ziad Najdawi's (search) trip to Baghdad, originally scheduled for Sunday, "was postponed for a little while because of technical reasons."

Rashdan said the defense team canceled Najdawi's trip after learning of new issues concerning the Iraqi court it wanted to examine before sending the envoy.

He declined to elaborate, but told The Associated Press that the visit "is still on and will take place as soon as possible." A new date for the visit had not yet been set.

"We will send Mr. Najdawi or a group from the defense team in the appropriate time," he added.

Earlier Saturday, Rashdan said Najdawi was making the trip to present Iraqi authorities with the power of attorney signed by Saddam's wife and try to meet Saddam.

"We are trying to move for the defense of Mr. President Saddam Hussein, despite our concern for the safety of our colleague," Rashdan said earlier. "The trial began, and the president has been denied his legal right to a lawyer, which is in violation of international law and the due process."

The defense lawyers have claimed that Iraqi authorities have warned them not to travel to Iraq.

On Thursday, Issam Ghazawi, one of the lawyers, said he had received a telephone call from Iraqi Justice Minister Malek Dohan al-Hassan, who allegedly threatened that if the lawyers made it to Baghdad, they "will not only be killed, but cut into pieces."

Another lawyer, Ziad al-Khasawneh, said al-Hassan has told him to go visit mass graves that Saddam is responsible for "instead of defending him."

Members of the defense team say they have also received anonymous death threats.

There was no immediate comment from al-Hassan or the Iraqi Embassy in Jordan.

On Friday, the defense team announced that the daughter of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi (search) will join Saddam's defense team, which already includes lawyers from Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia and Western countries such as the United States, Britain, France and Belgium, to fight the war crimes charges the former Iraqi leader is facing.

Aicha Moammar Qaddafi, a law professor in her late 20s, will form a team of Libyan legal experts to help in the defense, al-Khasawneh told AP.

Saddam and 11 other defendants, all former members of the ousted Iraqi regime, faced court in Baghdad for the first time Thursday on war crimes and genocide charges. Defense lawyers were not present for the brief arraignment.