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Saddam confessed to crimes, says Iraq president

[JURIST] Iraqi president Jalal Talabani said in an interview on al-Iraqiya state TV [media website] broadcast late Tuesday that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive], now in custody pending trials for crimes again humanity by the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website], had confessed before an investigating judge to crimes "such as executions." The confession, Talabani said, had come "from Saddam's mouth." The assertion has not yet been publicly confirmed by other government officials or by any official of the Tribunal, and it is unclear what legal effect a preliminary confession would have on the Iraqi trial process. In the same interview Talabani said that there were "100 reasons to sentence Saddam to death", and that he "deserves a death sentence 20 times a day because he tried to assassinate me 20 times", referring back to the days when Talabani was a Jurdish fighter. Talabani is personally opposed to the death penalty, but said "My not signing [a death warrant] does not mean that I will block the decision of the court." Saddam met personally [JURIST report] with Khalil Dulaimi, his Iraqi lawyer, on Monday; his defense has objected to the announced October 19 commencement of his first trial on grounds that it has insufficient time to prepare, and a British lawyer associated with the defense said Tuesday that neither Saddam nor Dulaimi had yet been officially advised of the trial date. AP has more. Reuters provides additional coverage.

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