Saddam Hussein gets bail - trial date set for January
In a decision which shocked and outraged the international community, Iraq's former dictator Saddam Hussein was today granted bail in a Baghdad court.
Saddam has been charged with a number of crimes which, under Iraqi law, carry the death penalty - these include :
- crimes stemming from the war with Iran in the 1980s and the invasion of Kuwait in 1990
- gas attacks which killed thousands of Kurds at Halabja in 1998
The government of Kuwait has called for Saddam to be executed.
Ali Hassan al Majid, a former senior aide to Hussein, better known as Chemical Ali for his role in the attack, also received bail.
Appearing before the senior justice of the Iraqi supreme court, Sheik Ya-Bouti , Saddam was silent. The head of the Iraqi special police advised Sheik Ya-Bouti that Saddam had given him a verbal confession to all the abovementioned crimes, plus several that they had not yet made up, stating "Yeh, I done all that stuff what they said. Its a fair cop, guv".
One of Saddam's lawyers says he believes the trial will be about vengeance and settling old scores. "Saddam did not know that these crimes were being committed by the military - he is very upset that he was not informed about these activities, advises that they were committed by rogue elements in the armed forces and that he will conduct a full inquiry to ensure the communication breakdown does not occur again." He also advised that he sympathises with Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, who has had similar communication problems and went on to speculate how different world history would have been if they only could have made up these excuses in time for the Nuremberg Trials.
Reporters waiting outside the courthouse asked Saddam what his plans were until the trial date in January. Saddam refused to comment but it is believed he will continue his widely speculated consultancy in the global acquisition department of the US company, Halliburton.