ABD-AL HAQ-AL ANI, counsellor for the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s defence panel, has revealed that an assault took place on the Iraqi leader at a recent hearing by three judges into the charges that are being prepared against him by the Iraqi puppet government.
Al Ani told the Arab media: ‘I have no further knowledge other than what the Central Support Panel, tasked with defending Saddam, reported Khalil al-Dulaymi, Saddam’s defence attorney, as saying.
‘When Al-Dulaymi entered the courtroom, he found three judges he never knew before.
‘None of the judges introduced themselves, which is a dangerous and unprecedented move we never heard of at any court.
‘Then, he found other attendees in the courtroom.
‘He did not know their names, identities, or the reasons behind their presence.
‘Of course, this aroused Al-Dulaymi’s suspicion because in such secret investigation sessions, nobody is supposed to know the whereabouts and times of the sessions except those working at the court or for the US forces.’
He was asked if this meant that the attendees of the court had nothing to do with the session and who were they then?
Al Ani replied: ‘You can direct this question to the US forces, which are orchestrating the games of the court, as well as to the judges who should have introduced the defendant or his defence attorney to the attendees and identified him with their capacities.
‘The investigation committee does not allow other people to attend the session.
‘Even if it does so, only attorneys are allowed to attend the session in order to give legal counsel to the defendant. This, however, did not happen.
Al Ani was asked: ‘Where were the security men, who are supposed to be there to protect or guard Saddam?’
He replied: ‘They were inside the courtroom. Khalil al-Dulaymi asked the US captain in charge of protecting to intervene, but he refused to do so. He relinquished his legal duty, which states that he should protect the defendant on his way to and back from the court.’
He was asked: ‘How did Saddam react to the assault?’
‘All I can say is that Saddam engaged in a fist fight.’
Al Ani was then asked: ‘How do you then explain the refusal by the judge and the US guard to intervene when Saddam was attacked?’
He replied: ‘I do not give any answer on something I have no idea about. However, the question that persists is: Who is the judge? This is because a judge cannot sit on the platform without introducing himself and without the defendant being introduced to the judge trying him.
‘This is a dangerous and unprecedented move in international trials.’
Al Ani was asked: ‘Given all the question marks and anonymity surrounding the identities of judges and attendees, do you believe that all of this was pre-planned?’
He replied: ‘I believe that the whole trial was pre-planned, starting from Bremer’s illegal establishment of the Iraqi Special Court to prevent international lawyers from contacting the defendant to give him legal counsel.
‘This is the first time in the history of humanity that a head of state is detained by an occupying force and then handed over to an illegally established court, and then he is denied his rights to receive legal counsel.
‘Sessions are held in an arbitrary manner, in which the defendant is notified only one day ahead of the date of holding the session.
‘Not a single international lawyer was allowed to give legal counsel to the defendant, which is the simplest right he should enjoy as a defendant.
‘Generally speaking, this constitutes violation of international laws. The United States and Britain are on top of the countries that claim to be above the law.’
Meanwhile, several Iraqi Shi’ite figures living in London are holding the government of Dr Ibrahim al-Jaafari, leader of the Islamic Al-Da’wah Party, responsible for the deterioration in fundamental issues, most importantly the security and services dossiers and the financial corruption in Iraq.
In statements they made to Al-Sharq al-Awsat, these figures agreed that Al-Jaafari’s government ‘does not have experience and has no connection with the Iraqi street’.
One of them called on Al-Jaafari to resign and leave the government for someone more competent than him.
Dr Ibrahim al-Ani, the dean of Higher Islamic Studies in London, said: ‘Services and security deteriorated much under Al-Jaafari’s government. The voters had hopes from it after it won the majority of votes.’
He pointed out that the government’s failure was not confined to these two issues but also included the foreign relations one.
Al-Ani said: ‘Iraq’s relationship with the Republic of Egypt improved under the former government (of Iyad Allawi). But we now see it has worsened much under this government following the kidnapping and murder of Egyptian Ambassador to Iraq Ihab al-Sharif by the terrorist groups and the resulting arguments that caused much damage to the relationship between the two countries.’
He called on the Iraqi government to take stricter measures on the financial corruption dossier and this leads us to demand stricter measures in the security one.
Abd-al-Husayn al-Mu’mini, another of the Iraqi Shi’ites, said: ‘I visited Iraq several times, especially Baghdad and the Babil, Karbala and Al-Najaf Governorates.
‘I come from the city of Al-Najaf and have just returned from there and personally felt the lack of services, the lawlessness and the worsening crises, especially the fuel, water, electricity ones as well as the non-distribution of the food rations in full and this is putting economic and mental pressures on the Iraqi people.’
Talking about Al-Jaafari’s government with its Shi’ite majority, Al-Mu’mini said: ‘The government and the people are worlds apart.’
He pointed out that Al-Jaafari’s government, as the Iraqis are asserting, was not in control of even 10 per cent of the state and country’s affairs and added: ‘The majority of cities in southern and central Iraq, apart from Baghdad, are under the control of the political parties and ruled by these parties’ militias while northern Iraq (Kurdistan) is under the control of the Kurds who are enjoying an almost independent rule and their militias (Peshmerga) are in control of the security situation there.
‘Whatever is left of Al-Jaafari’s powers and control are mostly under the control of the US forces.
He added: ‘The services dossier has deteriorated noticeably and there are no treatments because the government is remote from the concerns of the Iraqi citizen and street.
‘Al-Jaafari rules a small part of the Green Zone’, the heavily fortified US zone in the centre of the city of Baghdad.