U.S. senator says Saddam trial a mess

Dec. 28, 2005 at 7:48 AM

BAGHDAD, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- A U.S. Republican senator visiting Baghdad says judges at the trial of deposed leader Saddam Hussein need to regain control of the proceedings.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee told reporters Saddam's frequent outbursts, including one where he told the five judges to "Go to hell" needed to be addressed.

"I have been disappointed the way the court has permitted Saddam to dominate the proceedings, and I respect Iraqi sovereignty and I respect judicial independence, but it's also a fair comment to evaluate what is going on," Specter said.

He said he would recommend to the judges that U.S. and international law have precedents for holding disruptive defendants in contempt and trying them without their being present in the courtroom, The Washington Post said.

Saddam and seven other men are being tried on charges related to the retaliatory torture and killings of more than 140 residents of the southern town of Dujail after an assassination attempt on Saddam in 1982.

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