Skip to comments.Tariq Aziz refuses to testify against Saddam: lawyer
Posted on 12/24/2004 6:44:25 AM PST by WmShirerAdmirer
Former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz is unwilling to testify against Saddam Hussein at a future war crimes trial, his lawyer told Agence France-Presse after a four-hour meeting with his client on Thursday at a US base near the capital.
"Tariq Aziz told me that he will not take the witness stand against Saddam," said Badi Aref Izzat.
The lawyer said that Aziz, who has been in US custody since his surrender in the immediate aftermath of last year's US-led invasion, had had no opportunity to see the ousted president.
The 11 senior aides currently in custody were being held together and were able to see each other for three hours a day but Saddam himself was being held separately, Izzat said.
Iraqi officials have said that Saddam is being held in Camp Cropper, a US base at Baghdad airport, but Izzat said he did not know exactly where the others were being detained as he had been taken there in a US armoured personnel carrier.
Aziz, an English-speaking Christian and former foreign minister who was the ousted regime's best known spokesman to the outside world, remained "in good health and spirits" despite his 20-month detention, the lawyer said.
In October there were a flurry of rumours that Saddam's faithful aide, who was born in 1936, had died in custody, although they were later comprehensively denied.
On July 1, Aziz was formally charged alongside his captive colleagues by the Iraq Special Tribunal established by the US-led coalition to try senior members of the former regime.
He was charged with two counts of mass murder, allegedly committed in 1979 and 1991, and punishable by death if he is found guilty.
Izzat said Aziz insists on his innocence and wants to call longtime information minister Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf and military intelligence chief Saber Abdel Aziz al-Duri as defence witnesses.
"Any accusation of my involvement in this affair is baseless," the lawyer quoted him as saying.
Aziz insists he could not have had any part in the suppression of Kurds immediately after the 1991 Gulf war, as alleged by the prosecution, as he was still foreign minister at the time and divided his time between Baghdad and Arab capitals.
So is this fear or arrogance in Tariq-Aziz?
If he is of no use, hang him now and don't waste anymore time or effort on him.
I remember reading Hermann Göring refused to say anything negative of Hitler at the Nürnberg trials. And look how he ended up...
Fine. Take 'em both out back, kneel 'em down and shoot 'em in the back of the head. NOW.
Could be neither fear nor arrogance. Could be just simple
posturing - for the best deal.
Propaganda. He is spilling his guts, fer sure. Here we are ... lying to the media. NO FAIR, NO FAIR!
While Saddam is alive, he cannot take the chance of testifying-and neither will anyone else.
We should have killed him when we had the chance.
We should have just capped him.
Give me 15 minutes with him and he'll change his mind.
We're going to lose this fight because we can't not play by the rules.
true. his trial is going to be a mess.
what I do not understand, is why they can't take some of these "deck of cards" leaders, like Chemical Ali, and put them on the "rocket docket" - trial, conviction, appeal, execution - all within a 2 week time period. play the tape of the execution 24x7 in the prison where the others are held, try and soften them up.
what is the point of dragging this out?