French lawyer insists: I'm Saddam's man

16th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 15 (AFP) - Controversial French lawyer Jacques Verges said Tuesday that dozens of Saddam Hussein's relatives had designated him as the former Iraqi strongman's representative in a future war crimes trial.

PARIS, June 15 (AFP) - Controversial French lawyer Jacques Verges said Tuesday that dozens of Saddam Hussein's relatives had designated him as the former Iraqi strongman's representative in a future war crimes trial.

Verges' assertions come despite denials last month by Saddam's daughter Raghad that he was part of the team because his style clashed with that of other lawyers already appointed.

"My position is very simple. Forty-two people have designated me and so I act," Verges told reporters, displaying a list in Arabic with names and fingerprints.

The veteran lawyer, who in the past has made a name for himself for defending the late Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie and Carlos the Jackal, originally said one of Saddam's nephews had chosen him. On Tuesday, he spoke of brothers, uncles and cousins who had picked him, but did not hand out a complete list.

Verges added that in the end it would be up to the former Iraqi dictator to decide who would take up his defence.

In Jordan, some 20 lawyers, among them Arabs, an American and a French national have taken up Saddam's case, hired by his wife Sajida and his three daughters Raghad, Rana and Hala.

The United States on Tuesday said it would only hand Saddam, whom US forces are holding at an undisclosed location, over to Iraqi authorities if the interim government takes stronger security measures.

Officials in Baghdad have said they expect Washington to turn over Saddam within two weeks, ahead of the planned June 30 transfer of sovereignty.

© AFP

Subject: French news
 

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