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French Lawyer Says Latest Client Is Hussein

March 28, 2004|From Reuters

PARIS — A French lawyer who defended Nazi Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie and Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal said Saturday that Saddam Hussein's nephew had chosen him to represent the deposed Iraqi president.

Jacques Verges said he had received a letter from Ali Barzan Tikriti -- whose father, Barzan Tikriti, is Hussein's half-brother -- asking him to defend the former Iraqi dictator, captured by U.S. forces in December. Verges said he would accept.

The U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council in Baghdad is setting up a war crimes tribunal to try Hussein on charges that might include genocide and crimes against humanity.

Washington has said the 66-year-old Hussein, whose interrogation is being led by the CIA, should be tried in Iraq.

Verges, who is also representing former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tarik Aziz, suggested that his strategy for defending Hussein would focus on the role played by the U.S. and other countries in supporting the Iraqi leader in the 1980s. "We know very well that the Anglo-Americans armed Saddam Hussein, that the chemical weapons were sold by the allies," Verges said.

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