Stormy day in Saddam trial
Guards dragged Saddam Hussein's former intelligence chief out of court Monday for arguing with the judge. The chief Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman ordered the removal of Barzan Ibrahim, Saddam's half-brother, after he accused the court of "terrorizing" the defense.
Iraqi guards grabbed Ibrahim by the arms and pulled him out. He tried to shrug them off and they held his left arm and pushed him into a wall as they tried to hustle him out the door, causing an uproar among the defense lawyers.
"This is dictatorial," Ibrahim shouted. "You know dictatorship," Abdel-Rahman sneered in reply.
"They are beating him in front of your eyes. Right at the door," defense lawyer Mohammed Munib shouted to the judge.
Afterward, Saddam stood and sarcastically suggested the defense and defendants leave "if this will bring you calm and quiet and give you the opportunity to reach your verdicts. ... If my presence bothers you, then I can withdraw and ask the defense team to withdraw as well."
Earlier, an American lawyer on Saddam Hussein's defense team lashed out at the court trying him Monday, claiming it was not giving the defense enough time to present its case, intimidated its witnesses and put the defense at "a serious disadvantage."
Curtis Doebbler chided the chief judge for not responding to a series of defense motions, including ones challenging the court's legitimacy and seeking documents. "We are at a serious disadvantage to the prosecution because of the way we have been treated by the court," Doebbler told chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman. "We want to work for justice. But that must start by having a fair trial. But under the current circumstances, that doesn't seem possible. We ask that the trial be stopped to allow us adequate time to prepare our defense."
He pointed out that the prosecution took more than five months to present its case, while the court is rushing the defense, which started its arguments in April. Abdel-Rahman has repeatedly demanded the defense present full lists of witnesses. "Our witnesses have been intimidated by the court and have been assaulted," Doebbler said. "Several lawyers were assaulted as well."
Doebbler also accused the court of ignoring the defense's requests. "We have not received one reasoned opnion in response to our enormous written submitions," he said.
"We've not been able to visit the place where the Dujail events took place," Doebbler said. "I have asked to visit the place for a year and I haven't received any answer."