Hundreds volunteers join Saddam's defence team: Jordanian lawyer.

An Jordanian lawyer Ziad Khassawneh said that hundreds Arab volunteers have joined Saddam's defence team, including a daughter of Libyan leader Muammar Ghaddafi, the local newspaper Jordan Times reported Thursday.

The team, which was appointed by Saddam's wife Sajida and his three daughters, has the backing of hundreds of Arab and Jordanian lawyers, Khassawneh said, appealing to African lawyers to join the team.

Mohammad Rashdan, head of the defence team, said that the Jordan-based team have postponed the idea of an Iraqi trip "until we get international protection."

But the team is still awaiting authorization to visit Iraq from the competent authorities there, he added.

Last Thursday, Saddam made his first public appearance in almost seven months at the mentioned special court's arraignment with no lawyers to defend him.

He faces seven charges, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during his presidency in Iraq. If found guilty, he would face the death penalty.

Head of the Iraqi Lawyers Association Kamal Hamdoon Mula Allo questioned the legitimacy of a special tribunal trying former President Saddam Hussein, saying Iraqi lawyers did not admit it.

"We as lawmen, do not believe in special courts, and this court was formed by Paul Bremer, the former US civil administrator in Iraq," Mula Allo told Xinhua in an interview Wednesday.

"Our association has no relation with the court," he claimed. " We prefer that the trial is conducted through regular Iraqi judicial courts instead of an exceptional one."

Meanwhile, the Cairo-based Arab Lawyers Union also lashed out Wednesday at the special Iraqi tribunal, accusing it of failing to respect either judicial procedures or international charters related to human rights and fair trial.

[Source: Xinhua News Agency, Amman, 08Jul04]

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