Another Saddam Trial Lawyer Killed

Two crashed cars are seen on a Baghdad's Adil neighborhood Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2005. According to eyewitnesses the vehicle seen in the center was attacked by gunmen who killed the driver and wounded the passenger. (AP Photo/Asaad Muhsin)
Three gunmen in a speeding car killed a lawyer for a co-defendant in Saddam Hussein's trial and wounded another attorney Tuesday in Baghdad, a member of the defense team and police said.

Adel al-Zubeidi, representing former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, was shot to death and attorney Thamir al-Khuzaie was wounded in the ambush in the Adil neighborhood, according to lawyer Khamees Hamid al-Ubaidi.

Al-Zubeidi was the second defense attorney to be killed in less than a month.

Saddam's main lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, blamed the government for Tuesday's attack. "The aim of these organized attacks is to scare Arab and foreign lawyers," al-Dulaimi said. "We call upon the international community, on top of them the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to send an investigative committee because the situation is unbearable."

CBS News correspondent Cami McCormick reports that al-Dulaimi insists both lawyers were killed by gunmen posing as Iraqi security forces.

A police general said the attack occurred when three gunmen in a speeding car pulled alongside the lawyers' vehicle and opened fire. The general spoke on condition of anonymity because the sensitive case was in the early stages of investigation.

Al-Zubeidi also represented Abdullah Kazim Ruwayyid, a former Baath party official. The trial opened Oct. 19 and was suspended until Nov. 28 to allow the defense time to prepare its case.

On Oct. 20, Saadoun al-Janabi, lawyer for co-defendant Awad al-Bandar, was abducted from his office by 10 masked gunmen. His body, with two bullet shots to the head, was found hours later on a sidewalk near Fardous Mosque in the eastern neighborhood of Ur in Baghdad.

"Security in Iraq is the main challenge to the trial of Saddam Hussein," says CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst Pamela Falk, "and will cause delays in the proceedings and a likely request for a change in venue."

Saddam's defense team, which includes some 1,500 lawyers who act as advisers, is led by Khalid al-Dulaimi and Abdel Haq Alani, an Iraqi-born lawyer based in Britain.

In other developments:

  • Iraq's deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi arrives in Washington today for an eight-day visit. He is scheduled to address the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy organization in Washington that has championed the war in Iraq. He may also meet with Vice President Dick Cheney and national security adviser Stephen Hadley.
  • A car bomb exploded near Mustansiriyah University Tuesday, killing one person and injuring another.
  • The U.S. military said five soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment were charged on Saturday with detainee abuse, stemming from an incident on Sept. 7 "in which three detainees were allegedly punched and kicked while awaiting movement to a detention facility," McCormick reports. The five were charged with violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice.