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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:37, October 19, 2005
Roundup: Iraqis skeptical about Saddam's trial
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On the eve of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's trial on Wednesday, many Iraqis remain skeptical about motives behind the trial.

After being kept in custody for nearly two years, Saddam, 68, along with seven associates, will stand trial in the US-installed Iraqi Special Tribunal on charges against humanity.

"US and Iraqi politicians wanted to try Saddam and focus on his brutal crimes to deviate the world public opinion from their failure in discovering Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq," Muhammed Salih al-Aswad, an Iraqi lawyer, told Xinhua.

"They want to say it is worth invading Iraq to save the Iraqi people from his brutality and to cover their failure in proving that Iraq was hiding WMD," he said.

Saddam, known for his cruelty, had spent half of his life ruling Iraq since 1968 when the Baath Party took power in a coup. The former Iraqi strongman was toppled by US-led troops which invaded the oil-rich country under the pretext of Iraq's possession of WMD in 2003.

However, after two years of occupation and search for WMD, US forces failed to prove that Saddam's regime had any such weapons.

On Wednesday, Saddam will mainly face the charge of killing 143 Shiites in Dujail, some 60 km north of Baghdad, in 1982, when he survived a rebel attempt on his life.

It is widely expected that the court will hold a single session to inform Saddam of charges brought against him before the court adjourns.

Muhamed Baqir al-Sehiel, secretary-general of the Iraqi Democratic and Liberal Party, said, "People want the trial to be public." He expected violent reaction from Saddam's followers who have fought US and Iraqi forces.

Meanwhile, some Iraqis showed apathy to the trial as there are more urgent issues to be addressed.

"I don't think this would be an interesting issue for us. We are suffering from the acute shortage of basic necessities, like water, electricity and food, in addition to the worsening security, " retired teacher Amal Ali said.

"The government should focus on its duties by providing security, stability and a pleasant life. The media's hoopla on the trial is a tactic from the government to distract the people's attention on bad situation here," she said.

Abu Ali, a grocery owner, said, "The Iraqi government is using Saddam's trial for political goals. For us, Saddam has gone since the occupation. He is a prisoner in a US-run prison. Our hope is that he can have a fair trial as any Iraqi."

Akram al-Dulaimy, a retired officer, did not believe that Saddam's trial will make difference.

"It seems that the Americans and the Iraqi government are serving drugs to satisfy some people who claimed to have been oppressed during Saddam's era," Dulaimy said.

Two years later, many started to be sympathized with or even miss Saddam when they see no way out of their adversity, which they say is worse than in Saddam's era.

For those who dislike current leaders who came behind US tanks, Saddam is still head of the country, at least in their mind.

"This trial is legally baseless as Saddam Hussein is the legitimate president of Iraq," Muath al-Ubaidi, a bookshop owner, said.

"This trial is more about a political show than justice being done. We can not trust a court run by sectarian parties, so I hope that Saddam will be tried at an international court," he said.

US officials are afraid of further deterioration of the already precarious security in Iraq as they expected Saddam's supporters from Baathists and officers from the former army might step up attacks against US forces in the country.

Source: Xinhua


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