Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Courtroom of Lions and Monkeys | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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When Barzan Al-Tikriti, an associate of deposed President Saddam Hussein, entered into a rage during his trial due to those he described as &#34common&#34 mocking him, the former Iraqi President turned to him and sought to calm him down by saying, &#34 &#34The lion does not care about a monkey laughing at him from a tree.&#34

This is just one of the tales that has emerged from the trial of Saddam Hussein and his senior associates in Baghdad, which the whole world watches either gloating at their misfortune or astonished as one tries to decipher who is the monkey and who is the lion.

During parts of the trial, Saddam would defiantly tackle the judges and the sentences that he may incur as he roared loudly in courtroom. Other parts of the trial witnessed him and his associates crying out against their alleged maltreatment and the unfairness of the trial. One of the highlights of the comical trial was when Barzan stated that he wished he would receive the &#34fine&#34 treatment that his prisoners were subject to during his years in power. The world, including Saddam”s supporters, is aware of the circus that was Saddam”s regime and its treatment of prisoners who suffered torture of the worst kind. Iraqi officials constantly monitored and recorded prisoners and guards for documentation purposes, to ensure that punishment was being carried out properly and to terrorize others so that they would never violate the rules of the regime.

Another spectacle that featured in the trial was that of Iraqi vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan showing the court small bruises on his arm, which he claimed were the results of torture in prison earlier that day. The vice president”s experience is incomparable to that of the numerous Iraqis against whom dreadful torture was practiced. Many horrifying stories are re-told by Iraqi officials themselves causing any considerate human being to shudder with fear and disgust. These stories range from prison guards releasing wild dogs to attack prisoners to frighten other detainees, to suspects having their limbs cut off during interrogation sessions and their wives raped in front of them. During the era of this regime, people were killed for the most trivial of reasons without trial. In this age, people were insulted so much to the extent that the regime fell without anybody coming to its rescue due to the hatred for this regime.

Hardly any people shed tears over the toppling of Saddam Hussein and his regime. Even those sympathetic to Saddam were demanding that no one show support for him and his associates. The practice of lions attacking the weak prevailed in this country for decades leaving a state of widows and orphans and an era of nightmares and devastating stories that the world will never forget.

Saddam and his associates should be grateful that they have been given a legal and fair trial and have not been thrown into the lion”s den. They have been given the opportunity to hire lawyers from all over the world to defend their words. The former vice president, Yassin Ramadan wore a traditional Arab Thawb to gain sympathy, leaving behind him the days of his military attire when he would trample over his opponents. They are fortunate that the judge has allowed them to demonstrate their mockery and to make their complaints and requests as they clutch their copies of the Quran in their hands, rather than the weapons that they once carried whilst in power.