Saddam trial: Defense witnesses testify
Defense witnesses in the trial of Saddam Hussein argued Monday that a court which sentenced 148 Shiites to death following a 1980s assassination attempt on the ousted Iraqi president was fair and gave the defendants a proper defense.
The defense on Monday called a string of witnesses to testify on behalf of Awad al-Bandar, head of the Revolutionary Court who sentenced the 148 Shiites to death. "Mr. al-Bandar took the humanitarian aspect into consideration, and he was fair and made all judgment according to law," said the first witness, a lawyer who worked at the court, according to the AP.
"The court allowed defendants to commission a lawyer and if a defendant was not able to hire a lawyer then the court would appoint one for him. The court also was allowing all defendants to talk freely," the witness said.
Al-Bandar has insisted the trial was fair and that all the defendants confessed to a role in the attack on Saddam. But he has acknowledged that there was only one defense lawyer for all 148 and that the trial only lasted 16 days.
The day's second witness, also testifying anonymously, was a member of the army special forces who was jailed in 1982 for allegedly insulting Saddam and was put before the Revolutionary Court for trial. "When I stood before al-Bandar, he asked me whether I have a lawyer," the witness said. "I said, 'No because I'm innocent your honor.' Then he called a lawyer to defend me and then I was found innocent."