Justice Hanged in Baghdad

Mr. Saddam Hussein is no more. May Allah forgive him. May his soul rest in peace. We of the earth earthy are nobody to sit in judgement. If Hajjaj bin-Yousuf could die optimistic of his redemption in the hereafter, who are we to think differently or otherwise about others. We Indian Muslims sincerely pray for…

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Mr. Saddam Hussein is no more. May Allah forgive him. May his soul rest in peace.

We of the earth earthy are nobody to sit in judgement. If Hajjaj bin-Yousuf could die optimistic of his redemption in the hereafter, who are we to think differently or otherwise about others. We Indian Muslims sincerely pray for the salvation of his soul.

Today, defence of the late Iraqi President is nobody’s case or cause. By all standards he was a ruthless dictator. He did what all despots do to retain power. So did not only the Baathists in the recent past, but the Pinochets, the Duvaliers, the Pol Pots and the Tshombes in not-so-distant past. Today every feeling, thinking and concerned person’s case is the manner in which the former Iraqi Chief was “brought to justice”. Instead of hanging him, they hanged justice itself.

This “judicial murder” is one of the most classic examples of “murder most foul”.

It is not at all that the entire West has gone mad. Or the entire America has lost mental balance. Only recently, the Americans, in a pan-US poll, voted their crazy President as

the “biggest villain of 2006” – 19 percentage points ahead of the late Mr. Saddam Hussein – and hold your breath – 17 percentage points ahead of Osama bin Laden.

Before dealing with how “justice was hanged”, let us, once again, and rather forcefully, question the locus standi of the United States in invading Iraq and continue its occupation till date. Had Baghdad attached or threatened to attack Washington or its partner in crime, London? If no, was the occupation of Iraq justified legally or morally?

Strike Doctrine

Who has given the US the outrageous right of unilateral strike on sovereign states, suspected of having Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs)? Were WMDs recovered from Iraq? If no, how dare the devil pulverised distant, independent, foreign country? And it is not for the first time that America has planted a pliant-government in a far off country, under the assumption that the globe is under its imperial suzerainty. So has happened earlier in Algeria, the Sudan, Afghanistan and is now happening in Somalia, where US-backed Ethiopians and Israelis have decimated Muslim areas and leadership. If invading sovereign States merits gallows, how and what do you think of Mr. George W. Bush? Does he not appear to be prominent among the most rabid?

Let the democratic conscience of the world at large, which today lives under dangerous times, revolt against this thuggery.

Targets Muslim

To be once again noted is the carefully selected targets of the motivated, arrogant and trigger-happy warlords of Washington, who openly treat Islamic world as their colony where nobody has the guts, the cheek and temerity to question their foreign Master’s misdeeds against their own Brethren-in-Faith elsewhere. Had any Arab country effectively registered its cavil against the occupation of Afghanistan or Iraq? Had any Islamic country run to the rescue of the pushed-to-the wall? What fear kept them off the field of Muslim slaughter? After all, all of them are not followers of the architects of 9/11.

For all practical purposes, crusades continue, and the defenceless Muslims are fighting a losing battle. That one-fifth mankind does not show any sign of life is really disgusting and amazing.

Judges Changed

Because of the local Shia and US President’s pressure, the Presiding Judge trying Mr. Hussein was changed twice. Neither the defence was given the opportunity to make its final written submission to the trial court, as specified by the SICT’s own rules. In this background, the UN Working Group concluded that Mr. Hussein “did not get adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence,” as mandated by Article 14(3) of the ICCPR. “The severe restriction on access to top lawyers of his own choosing and the presence of US officials at such meeting violated his right to communicate with counsel. The assassination of two of his counsels during the course of his trial, Mr. Sodoun al-Janabi on 20th October 2005 and Mr. Khamis El-Obeidi on 21 June 2006 seriously undermined his right to defend himself through counsel of his own choosing.”

Guarantee Undermined

Mr. Hussein, according to WGAD, did not enjoy the possibility to “obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same condition as witnesses against him,” as required by Article 14(3) of the ICCPR. “This guarantee was undermined by the failure to adequately disclose prosecution evidence to the defendant, the reading into the record of affidavit without an adequate possibility for the defence to challenge them and the sudden decision of the presiding judge to cut short the defence case on 13 June 2006.”

By all standards, the fact is, Mr. Hussein’s was a sham trial, which naturally brought victor’s verdict, for which the victor had to spend $140 million, which Americans paid through nose. What particularly made the trial sham is the fact that three defence lawyers were mysteriously killed by the Shia death-squads, linked to the Interior Ministry or to Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Mehdy Army. Another one fled the country. This had led to the boycott of trial and hunger strike by the chief accused.

The trial proceedings have also been criticised by the World Human Rights groups like the Amnesty International. The United Nations described them as “incompatible” with the standards of international justice.

Minor Crime

What should not go un-noted is the fact that Saddam ordered execution of 148 Shias was one of his minor crimes. This trial of Mr. Hussein was ordered at the behest of the Shias leading present Baghdad government. It did satisfy their ego, but leaving several questions un-answered. One of them is linked to the timing and method of execution. Execution on the first day of Eid-ul-Adha, the feast of sacrifice, says something. It embodies messages by the Iraq Shia brethren and American enemy as well.

The footage of execution has also been, perhaps deliberately released. However, our feeling is the effort has boomeranged on both, those who conceived it and those who implemented it. Total absence of fear of death on the serene, calm and composed face of convict should not have gone un-noticed by Mr. Bush and his British ally.

Similarly, a graceful retort by the convict to his Shia tormentors basing teasing him with “Muqtada, Muqtada” when he was about to be hanged – hia hiy al marjala or “is this your manliness” – would surely have been noted with a pinch of salt by the Shia leadership in Baghdad. Literally, the convict had the last laugh, the final say. It would have been better if Mr. Hussein’s tormentors had shown propriety by not releasing the trapdoor when he was saying his last prayer: Their behaviour, which was shorn of decency, turned execution into lynching. The Shias of Iraq have thus only besmirched their already tainted image.

New Delhi Reaction

To the Vatican, the hanging was “a tragedy”. To the European Union, it was “barbaric”. To our Government, it was only “unfortunate” and “disappointing”. This is the treatment – insensate and callous – that New Delhi meted out to an Arab leader, who invariably, much against the OIC line, voted in favour of India’s stand on Jammu and Kashmir at world fora, particularly at the United Nations.

From secular Bharat, no lawyer of any stature, went to confront the pre-meditated execution of Mr. Hussein at the US-sponsored Kangaroo Court in Baghdad. Need one tell our top legal fraternity that it was not the case of an individual named Saddam Hussein. It was the case of a cause, the cause of legality and justice; it was the cause of international fair-play. Was the well-planned capital punishment to the deposed Iraqi President not a blot on justice and an affront to culture and civilization? The Indian Palkhiwalas owe a cogent reply.

Indecent Haste

Why an extraordinary rather indecent haste was shown in executing Mr. Hussein?

The American Administration’s fear was Mr. Hussein spilled the beans and the world would have seen the too-hideous face of Mr. Bush and his co-conspirator(s). It is common knowledge that both the US and Iraq were good friends. They cooperated with each other in defence and on other sensitive subjects. They exchanged intelligence and Iraq kept US informed of significant developments in the Gulf.

It is also known that it was at the instigation of US that Iraq attacked Iran in 1980 and according to knowledgeable sources, it was with the “go ahead” by the US envoy in Baghdad, Ms April Magpee that Mr. Hussein tried to annex Kuwait in 1990. Her pity but volumes-speaking reply was: “We have no opinion on the subject.” Mr. Hussein understandably, but mistakenly took it as a green signal. But his destination was not Kuwait. His destination was Saudi Arabia, housing the Haramain. Crazy with the idea of Arab leadership, he like Gamel Abdel Nasser wanted to ultimately capture the jugular vein of Islam. But Saudi Arabia happened to be a greater friend of America at that time. The unfolding of this plan did not fit in the frame of Washington’s Saudi Arabia. The rest is history.

Mr. Hussein was poor rather poorer in understanding Israelis and Americans. They cheated him, used him and betrayed him. That was beyond his imagination, his poor imagination. It was in the twilight hour of his life that he understood the real face of the Jews and Christians in the light of Qur’an. But it was too late.¨