Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat- deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has begun a hunger strike to protest Iraqi authorities failure to reveal the results of the investigation into the assassination of Khamis al-Ubaydi, a member of the defense panel. In a related development, the lawyer of Tariq Aziz, who was the deputy prime minister in the Saddam regime, said that his client also began a hunger strike yesterday in protest against the coalition forces preventing him from signing “the power of attorney.”
Lawyer Wadud Fawzi Shams-al-Din, a member of the defense panel, told Asharq al-Awsat that “the former Iraqi president said that another reason why he is on hunger strike is the terrorism his lawyers are facing, which is preventing them from performing their duties. Besides, the Special Iraqi Tribunal is not allowing the defense panel to meet Saddam and not making it possible for the panel to prepare the defense sheet. This in addition to the repeated violations by the court of international law regarding cooperation with the defense panel; the failure to ensure sufficient, required protection for the panel; as well as the failure to hold accountable persons and political organizations publicly calling for the murder of the lawyers. This is obstructing the work of the defense panel, and confirming — according to the international charter of human and political rights — that the minimum conditions for a fair trial are not available and that such conditions will not exist in light of the current situation of the court and the trial.”
In other developments, the case of Jordan’s hosting of Saddam Hessian’s daughter Raghad, has caused a wide rift between Jordan and Iraq.
An official Jordanian source told Asharq al-Awsat that Jordan’s refusal to hand over Raghad was the reason for the postponement Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri visit to Jordan. The source explained that the Iraqi prime minister was surprised by statements made by Jordanian officials, chiefly Prime Minister Ma’ruf al-Bakhit and Government Official Spokesman Nasir Judah, that Raghad is the guest of the Hashemites and that handing her over to the Iraqi authorities is ruled out. The source said that only 24 hours passed from when Al-Maliki expressed his desire to visit Jordan to when the visit was postponed. The source noted that the reason is clear; namely, Jordan’s refusal to hand over Raghad to the Iraqi authorities.
The source stressed that Jordan rejects all pressures to hand over Raghad, saying the daughter of the (former) Iraqi president has followed fully the country’s hosting conditions and has not exercised any political or media activities. In the same context, Jordanian Government sources have said that the postponement of the Iraqi prime minister’s visit to Jordan is attributed to the king Abdullah traveling abroad, adding that the visit will take place next week.