Just heard on the radio that there are seven co-defendants – am now picturing Saddam as Snow White…… I know, it’s a stretch – work with me here….
The link below is Al Jazeera’s update on the trial. People are pissed that the judge is showing deference to Saddam, allowing him to make complaints and to dominate the courtroom.
The 68-year-old former president began his monologue on Monday with a verse from the Quran which reminds believers who aspire to heaven that God knows who participated in the struggle and who persevered.
Two of the seven other defendants also spoke out during the two-and-a-half-hour session, complaining of their treatment in detention or dissatisfaction with their court-appointed counsel.
The tribunal adjourned until next Monday to give the defence time to replace lawyers slain since the opening session on 19 October.
The court’s tolerance of such comments drew sharp complaints from some politicians, who believed the Iraqi High Tribunal was bending over backwards to accommodate a defendant who should have already been convicted and executed.
“The chief judge should be changed and replaced by someone who is strict and courageous,” said one legislator, Ali al-Adib, a senior official in Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari’s party.
The tribunal allowed former US attorney-general Ramsey Clark and prominent lawyers from Qatar and Jordan to join the defence team as advisers, a move aimed at convincing foreign human-rights groups that the trial would meet international standards of fairness.
Also, the chief judge, Rizgar Muhammad Amin, ordered all handcuffs and shackles removed from the defendants before they entered the courtroom – another gesture towards the accused.
Saddam, well-groomed and the only defendant wearing Western clothes, moved quickly to try to seize control of the proceedings. He was the last defendant to enter the chamber. While other defendants appeared frightened and exhausted, he swaggered confidently to his seat, greeting people along the way with the Muslim greeting “peace be upon you” as he held a copy of the Quran.
He complained that he had to walk up four flights of stairs in shackles and accompanied by “foreign guards” because the elevator was not working.
Judge Amin said he would tell the police not to let that happen again.
“You are the chief judge,” Saddam snapped back. “You should be giving them instructions and not just tell them. This is our country.
“You are Iraqi and they are foreigners and occupiers. They are invaders.”
Saddam also furiously complained that some of his notes and his pen had been taken from him.