Defending Saddam: The French Connection?

Wednesday, March 31st, 2004

Saddam Hussein is still in US custody, held at some secret location within Iraq, but presumably he will eventually be put on public trial in some way. That is certainly the plan announced by President Bush at the time of his capture, although exact details on the form, place, and machinery of this trial have been few and far between. This still raises the issue of legal defense – as in, who will conduct that for Saddam whenever the trial does happen. Recent developments seem to point to the involvement here of French nationals. (Wouldn’t you just know it? Pass me some more of those “freedom fries” . . .)

These happenings have yet to see much coverage on the on-line American press, at least judging from what I could come up with via Google News. The best article I could find introducing Jacques Vergès, the “cigar-chomping French attorney” supposedly preparing Saddam’s legal defense, was from the New York Post (and those editors neglectfully leave out the “e avec accent grave” – that is, the “è” – that makes up a vital part of this Frenchman’s last name). But that’s all OK, because there has been plenty of French coverage, and these writers not only get the accent right but also have plenty of material in the files about the past antics of Me Vergès (“Me” for maître, the French title for a lawyer). (more…)

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