SADDAM HUSSEIN, the legal Iraqi president, was dragged from his hospital bed where he was being forcibly fed after a 17 day hunger strike and taken to court, despite the fact that his defence lawyers were boycotting it.
The hunger strike and boycott began after three of Saddam’s lawyers were murdered.
At Wednesday’s session Saddam was represented by a court appointed lawyer who acted as if he was part of the prosecution.
Saddam asked the court, ‘How can a person deal with a case as complicated as this without a lawyer?’
He continued to discuss the issue of the defence lawyers pointing out that a number of them have been killed. He asked if it is morally acceptable for lawyers who defend Saddam for free to be killed.
The judge interrupted Saddam instructing him to leave his ‘speeches’ until after the court procedures have been completed. Saddam continued to speak. He announced his refusal to appear before the court, his solidarity with the lawyers, and asked to be removed from the court.
Responding, the presiding judge, Ra’uf Abd-al-Rahman, read a portion of the Law of the Criminal Courts, which states that the defendant must be present in the courtroom and the presence of his lawyer does not suffice.
A heated discussion erupted between the judge and Saddam concerning the defence lawyers. Abd-al-Rahman said: ‘Your lawyers have taken millions of Iraqi dinars from Iraq and they instigate violence. They are not lawyers, they incite violence.’
When the appointed defence lawyer began to speak, Saddam interrupted saying: ‘The Canadian wrote this for him. I challenge him to write 20 lines of the like. The US agent wrote it for him, the Canadian spy.’
Saddam interrupted the defence lawyer objecting to statements the lawyer attributed to him, and clarified that what he had actually said was: ‘I am responsible for any signature proven by a neutral side to be mine.’
The judge interrupted the defence lawyer to explain to Saddam that during the postponement of the trial, Saddam had the right to ask his lawyers to return and present their arguments.
Saddam said: ‘Even if my signature does not appear on a document, I am responsible for any death sentence signed by Saddam Hussein.’ He went on to say that he does not speak ‘to defend myself, rather to defend Iraq. I defend Iraq, the people, and the cause’.
Saddam interrupted the defence lawyer and asked the judge: ‘If your honour were in a different place listening to such an argument, would you imagine that this is a lawyer for he who is called Saddam Hussein or would you think he were the general prosecutor? I ask you by God. I leave this to you. I do not want an answer.’
Responding to remarks by the appointed defence lawyer that ‘a significant number of those detained were physically tortured’, Saddam Hussein says: ‘He is supposed to be here as a defence lawyer.
Generally speaking, a defence lawyer should rely on conclusions that serve the defendant’s interest. But when he draws conclusions that could be used against the defendant, this proves that he is not faithful to his duty.’
Asked to clarify, Saddam said: ‘When the defence lawyer makes a conclusion that has a negative impact on the defendant, he proves that he is acting in accordance with a pre-formed personal agenda. This is the only explanation. What he has just talked about is not related to facts.’
Replying to a remark by Presiding Judge Ra’uf abd-al-Rahman that ‘we have no more time to waste’, Saddam said: ‘Why the rush? I advise you as an Iraqi that when you find yourself in a situation where you have to sentence Saddam Hussein to death, you should remember that Saddam Hussein is a military man.
‘Therefore, execution has to be carried out by a firing squad, rather than hanging like any criminal. As an Iraqi, you are requested to fulfil this request.’
Responding, the judge said: ‘By Allah, we have not so far formed any idea about what verdict we will pass.
‘We will examine every word said throughout the sessions, and will consider all facts, presumptions, testimonies, and all written, printed, audio and other evidence.’
‘I swear that I will resign my position if anyone, whoever he happens to be, tries to impose his view on the trial,’ the judge emphasised.
Commenting on a phrase uttered by the appointed lawyer that the ‘Ba’athist regime collapsed over a short period of time’, Saddam said: ‘This is the regime of the people, but the Ba’ath used to be the leader.
‘According to my orders, the Iraqi Air Force did not participate in the war. Yet Iraq and the Iraqi Army stood up for 20 days. Is there a country that can face for 20 days those who came to Iraq?
‘I am sure that you hear the sounds of weapons of armed attacks just as we hear them, though we are in jail.
‘This is the sound of the people. Let us see how the Americans will face the people.’
Replying to a question ‘whether he is instigating murder’, Saddam said: ‘I am not calling for murder. I am calling for fighting America. I am calling for driving the invaders out.’
Commenting, the judge said: ‘If you are urging Al-Mujahideen, as you called them, to kill the Americans, let them not attack the Americans in the streets, public places, cafe shops and crowded markets. Let them not blow themselves up as you – (sentence incomplete).
‘Let them blow the Americans up in their camps, tanks and locations.
‘How do you call the killing of people resistance against the Americans?’
As Saddam and the judge kept arguing, the voice stopped again from the source.
When audio transmission resumed, the judge was shown addressing Saddam: ‘Those who you give orders to kill people.’ Saddam replied: ‘Listen. If you are trying to intimidate me, not even a thousand people like you can intimidate an inch of my body.
‘But logically and legally speaking, I have not called for (voice interrupted again). I am calling for kicking the damned invaders out.’