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Rights Group: Saddam Did Not Get Fair Trial


A U.S.-based rights group says former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein did not get a fair trial and therefore should not be executed.

New York-based Human Rights Watch, in a report released Monday, says the former Iraqi leader's trial was plagued with procedural flaws.

Among other things, H.R.W. says the court failed to give defense lawyers important documents in advance, lost track of paperwork and kept no written transcript. The report says statements of 29 prosecution witnesses were read into the record without them being available for cross-examination.

The group criticizes the chief judge as not being impartial, and says the judges were under constant pressure from Iraq's government.

Earlier this month, Iraq's High Tribunal sentenced Saddam and two co-defendants to hang for ordering the murder of 148 men and boys from the Shi'ite town of Dujail in 1982.

The author of the report - Nehal Bhuta -criticizes the U.S. for insisting the trial be an Iraqi process. He says it should have included international jurists.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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