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Rights Group Says Hussein Trial Unfair

November 20, 2006 -- Human Rights Watch has criticized the Iraqi court that recently sentenced Saddam Hussein to hang for crimes against humanity.

In a 97-page report issued today, Human Rights Watch said the Iraqi Special Tribunal was guilty of shortcomings so serious that a fair trial for Hussein was all but impossible.

For example, it said the court failed to give defense lawyers important documents in advance, lost track of paperwork, and kept no written transcript.

The report expressed concern over the high turnover of judges on the five-member panel during the trial. Three left the bench and a fourth was frequently absent because of poor health.

The report said the judiciary lacked the expertise for such a complex trial and urged the government to let experienced international jurists take part directly in future trials.

(RFE/RL 20.xi.06)

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