BAGHDAD: One of Saddam Hussein's top lawyers was shot dead yesterday after being abducted from his Baghdad home by men wearing police uniforms, other members of the defence team said.
It was the third such killing since the former Iraqi president's trial started eight months ago.
Khamis al-Obeidi, an Iraqi who represented Saddam and his half brother Barzan Ibrahim, was abducted yesterday morning, said Saddam's chief lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi.
His body was found shot to death on a street near the Shiite slum of Sadr City, said police Lieutenant Thaer Mahmoud.
"The aim of this act is to terrify the lawyers and hinder the work of the defence team," said al-Dulaimi.
Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi confirmed that al-Obeidi had been killed, although he did not provide any details.
A parked car bomb also exploded near an ice cream shop in Sadr City yesterday, killing at least three people and wounding eight, police captain Sattar Jabar said. It was the second attack in as many days in the sprawling Shiite district in eastern Baghdad.
The violence came a day after the US military recovered the bodies of two missing soldiers from an area south of Baghdad that it said was rigged with explosives.
The Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of five insurgent groups, claimed the new leader of al-Qaida in Iraq executed the men personally, but it offered no evidence.
The US military did not confirm whether the soldiers died from wounds suffered in an attack on Friday or were kidnapped and later killed.
Unlike al-Dulaimi, who shuttles between Amman, Jordan, and the Iraqi capital, al-Obeidi chose to continue living in Baghdad despite the tenuous security and the killing of two members of the trial's defence team last year.
He lived in the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah in northern Baghdad.
Al-Dulaimi blamed the Interior Ministry, which Sunnis have alleged is infiltrated by so-called Shiite death squads, for the killing.
"We strongly condemn this act and we condemn the killings committed by the Interior Ministry forces against Iraqis," he said.
Bushra al-Khalil, a Lebanese member of the defence team, also said al-Obeidi was taken from his house early yesterday by men dressed in police uniforms and driving four vehicles used by Iraqi security forces.
Source: China Daily/agencies