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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

 

Let's Kill All The Lawyers

Saddam Husseins' defence team has suffered another fatality.
"Khamis al-Obeidi, an Iraqi and Sunni Arab who represented Saddam and his half brother Barzan Ibrahim in their eight-month trial, is the third of the former leader's lawyers to be assassinated.

Khalil al-Dulaimi, Saddam's chief defence counsel, said Mr Obeidi was killed after being abducted from his home at 7am by men wearing police uniforms"
For Iraq to have any democratic and stable future there has to respect for the rule of law. This means accepting that there will be an independent bar fearless in their defence of whoever retains them.

In the UK barristers and advocates operate what is known as the Cab-Rank Rule which guarantees that even the most depraved and objectionable have the full protection of due legal process. It is fundamental that clients pick lawyers not the other way around.

When Iraqi lawyers can accept a brief without fear of murder then we will really know that a rights based democracy is possible in the Middle East. Given this, in Saddams' case the survival of the lawyers will have more long term significance than the survival of their client.

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