Police say brother-in-law of new judge in Saddam trial killed in Baghdad

Friday, September 29th 2006, 10:22 am
By: News On 6

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ The brother-in-law of the new judge presiding at Saddam Hussein's genocide trial was killed and his nephew was wounded in a shooting Friday in Baghdad, the latest deadly violence linked to proceedings against the former Iraqi leader.

The judge's brother-in-law, Kadhim Abdul-Hussein, was fatally shot, and his son, Karrar, was wounded by unidentified assailants, police 1st Lt. Thaer Mahmoud said.

It was not immediately clear whether they were targeted because they were related to Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, a Shiite Muslim who took over the Saddam trial last week, or if it was another of the sectarian attacks that have been plaguing Baghdad.

During Saddam's first trial, three defense lawyers were killed, and in July, Saddam and three other defendants refused food to protest lack of security for lawyers and conduct of the trial.

Friday's attack in the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Ghazaliyah came a half-hour before the weekly ban on vehicular traffic in the capital that has been instituted to try to prevent suicide bombings on the Muslim holy day.

Al-Khalifa had been deputy to the original chief judge in the trial, Abdullah al-Amiri, who was removed on accusations he was too soft on Saddam. Among other things, al-Amiri had angered Kurdish politicians by declaring in court that Saddam was ``not a dictator.''

The trial, Saddam's second, began Aug. 21. He and six co-defendants face genocide charges for their roles in a bloody crackdown against Kurdish rebels in the late 1980s. The defendants could face the death penalty if convicted.

In a further sign of sectarian violence, authorities found 10 bodies bearing signs of torture, apparently victims of death squads.

Police said the corpses of seven men and one woman were all found in east Baghdad neighborhoods, blindfolded with their hands and legs bound. Two more corpses, riddled with bullets and also bound, were pulled from the Tigris River in Suwayrah, 25 miles south of Baghdad. They showed signs of torture, said Maamoun al-Ajili, an official with the Kut morgue.

U.S. commanders said there has been a spike in sectarian violence in Iraq _ particularly in the capital _ since the start of Ramadan, which Sunnis started observing on Sept. 23 and Shiites two days later.

Separately, the commander of U.S. forces in Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's volatile western Anbar province, said the insurgency can be beaten but probably not until after U.S. troops leave the country.

``An insurgency is a very difficult thing to defeat in a finite period of time. It takes a lot of persistence _ perseverance is the actual term that we like to use,'' Army Col. Sean B. MacFarland, commander of 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, said in a video-teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon.

``Who knows how long this is going to actually last?'' he added. ``But if we get the level of violence down to a point where the Iraqi security forces are more than capable of dealing with it, the insurgency's days will eventually come to an end. And they will come to an end at the hands of the Iraqis, who, by definition, will always be perceived as more legitimate than an external force like our own.''

MacFarland's brigade is fighting in Ramadi, where the insurgency has become so entrenched and feared by residents that the city has no Iraqi mayor. Recently, however, the tide has begun to turn against al-Qaida in Iraq, which has become the dominant anti-government force, the colonel said.

``It's a situation that's beginning to spiral in our favor,'' he said.

In the troubled city of Baquoba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, three bodies were discovered in a house and weapons were found in a mosque, Provincial police chief Maj. Ghassan al-Bawi said.

Sixty suspected insurgents were taken into custody in the operation conducted by the Iraqi army and police, he said.

A traffic policeman was killed and two civilians injured in a bombing in downtown Baghdad, police said. Insurgents used what is becoming an increasingly common technique _ detonating one bomb to attract attention, then detonating a second bomb when people came to look, police 1st Lt. Mohammed Khayun said.

In Anah, about 160 miles northwest of the capital, two Iraqi soldiers were killed and another two injured when a roadside bomb hit their convoy.