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THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ: BOMBING ATTACKS; EX-OFFICIAL'S
COURT APPEAL; PRESIDENT'S HEALTH

Judge won't block Iraqi's execution

U.S. jurist says he lacks jurisdiction to uphold an appeal by Hussein's former vice president.

February 28, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A U.S. judge Tuesday refused to block the execution of Saddam Hussein's former vice president, saying he had no jurisdiction to step into the case.

Taha Yassin Ramadan was convicted alongside Hussein for his role in a 1982 massacre of Shiite Muslim civilians from the village of Dujayl. He is being held at a U.S. military prison in Iraq.

His lawyers argued he would be tortured if turned over to Iraqis. Pleas similar to Ramadan's, including one by Hussein on the evening of his execution, had already been rejected.

Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general who represents Ramadan, said the treatment of Hussein and two of his codefendants at their executions was barbaric and should be considered reason for U.S. courts to intervene.

"They have been taunted, humiliated, tortured and had their heads popped off," Clark said.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman said that agreeing to the motion by Ramadan's lawyers would be tantamount to rejecting the verdict of an Iraqi trial court.

"No matter how you slice it, I would be collaterally reviewing that conviction," Friedman said.

He agreed with the U.S. Justice Department that the American military was holding Ramadan for Iraqi authorities and that U.S. courts did not have jurisdiction to interfere in Iraq's judicial process.

Defense attorneys called the case a show trial with no legal foundation and asked Friedman to block Ramadan's transfer to Iraqi authorities. Friedman said blocking the move would in effect leave Ramadan in legal limbo.

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