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Saddam lawyer says October trial too early as defense reorganized

[JURIST] Saddam Hussein's Iraqi lawyer Khalil Dulaimi told Reuters Saturday that the October 19 trial date for his client indicated Friday by an Iraqi government source unconnected with the Iraqi Special Tribunal [official website] set up to try Hussein was too early, and that "years" were needed to assess what he called the "36 tonnes of files" in the case. It became apparent earlier this week {JURIST report] that the government wants to move on the potentially-incendiary trial days after the scheduled referendum on the draft Iraqi constitution presented to parliament [JURIST report] last Sunday, and well before parliamentary elections scheduled to follow in mid-December. In recent days, Sunni protestors [JURIST report] against the constitution have begun to march publicly with Saddam's picture on placards. Reuters has more.

Meanwhile in Jordan, a legal adviser to Hussein's eldest daughter Raghd said Saturday that the defense team for her father had been completely reorganized. During the summer the vast 2000+ Jordanian-based defense committee was essentially fired by the family [JURIST report] and replaced by Dulaimi alone, but Abdel Haq Alani told reporters that a new team had now been formed that "includes prominent American, European, Asian and Arab lawyers who were chosen on the basis of competence and merit." The first charge Saddam faces [JURIST report] relates to the 1982 killings of dozens of Shiites in the village of Dujail after a failed assassination attempt on the then-Iraqi president. Iraqi officials have said that they expect Saddam to be found guilty and quickly sentenced to death [JURIST report], although Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said again last week that he would not sign any death warrant for him [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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