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Saddam's Lawyer to President Bush: Guilty Verdict Will Spark Civil War in Iraq


Saddam Hussein's lawyer has written to President Bush, warning of full scale civil war if the former Iraqi president is convicted and executed for crimes against humanity.

The lawyer's letter urges the U.S. president to release Saddam and his seven co-defendants immediately.

Saddam and his co-defendants are accused of murder and torture in the deaths of 148 Shi'ites from the town of Dujail after an apparent assassination attempt against Saddam in 1982.

A verdict is expected November 5, two days before U.S. congressional elections.

CNN reports that Saddam has written a separate letter to the chief judge, Raouf Abdul Rahman, claiming that the November 5 date is an attempt by Mr. Bush to boost the chances of Republican party candidates.

But the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad, told American television network CNN Sunday that Washington was not involved in setting a date for the verdict.

Saddam and six co-defendants are also on trial for genocide, murder and torture in a campaign against Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s. Prosecutors say Iraqi forces killed more than 180,000 Kurds in the Anfal campaign. Kurdish witnesses have been giving testimony.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.