London, Asharq Al-Awsat- The newly appointed chief judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein denied any links to Iraq’s Baath Party.
Said al Hashemi, who is expected to preside over the trial of the former Iraqi dictator and seven associates in the Dujail affair when it resumes on Tuesday, told Asharq al Awsat from his office in Baghdad on Sunday, “If I had been a member of the Baath, I would not have disowned part of my history.”
The Iraqi Commission set up to remove Baath party members from positions of power in Iraq had raised objections against al Hashemi and accused the judge of links with the disbanded party.
“The decision is not based on any evidence. The claims are totally untrue. I am not saying this just to defend my position. I am not ready to disavow a period of my past if I was indeed a Baath member and I do not allow anyone to alter my history. If this were true, I would have confessed. But I have never had any relationship with the Baath party.”
Asked about why these accusations were being levelled against him, Judge al Hashemi said, “I do not know why. I don’t know if some government, political or sectarian source is responsible for the attempts to drive a wedge between me and the tribunal. All I know is the accusations are connected to Baath and Saddam loyalists who are capable of influencing the Iraqi Commission and using it for their own interests.”