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Hussein Meets Defense Lawyer For First Time

Saddam Hussein at his arraignment in July 16 December 2004 -- Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein today met with a defense lawyer for the first time since his capture a year ago.

The head of Hussein's legal team, Ziad Khassawneh, said Hussein conferred for four hours with one of the team lawyers at the undisclosed detention site.

Jordanian-based Khassawneh said Hussein was in good health and his morale was high. He said he looked much better than at a public appearance several months ago when he was arraigned.

The meeting follows word from Iraqi officials that top aides to Hussein will be brought to trial, starting next week.

No firm date has been set for the former president himself to go on trial, but it is expected to be after the 30 January elections.


[For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".]