Monday, June 13, 2005


In the news: Saddam Hussein lawyer wants trial in neutral state.

Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein should be tried in another country, preferably Sweden, rather than Iraq, one of his defense lawyers said on Sunday.

"We invite the Iraqi government and the prosecutors to hold this trial, if there is to be a trial, not in Iraq where it's not safe to hold the trial, but to hold it either in the Hague or in Sweden or in Austria or even in Switzerland," British-based lawyer Giovanni di Stefano said.

"I would favor Sweden more than any other country -- where we are likely, more than not, a) to obtain a fair trial, and b) in the unlikely event that our client is tried and convicted, he can go straight to a detention center in Sweden," he told the Swedish public television station SVT. (, 06/12/05.)

Sweden has a long tradition of not standing up against dictators...

UPDATE 06/14/05:

Here is a comment by Jennifer:

Would Swedes welcome a Sadam Hussein trial in their country?

Detention center? I can't really judge because I've never been to Sweden, but it's my understanding that the Swedish penal system is quite soft on criminals. What say you, Martin?

I don't know if the Swedes would welcome a trial. You are right about being "soft on criminals." Here are some examples:

A 19 year old has escaped from a secure youth unit in Sundbo, Fagersta. It is the second time in two days that he has done a runner, while a murderer who escaped from the same institution on Friday was caught on Saturday.

The escapes resurrect the ghost of last summer's embarrassing prison leakages in Sweden, when nine dangerous prisoners found themselves on the run after three separate break outs. All were caught after massive search operations. (, 06/12/05.)

Cell phones smuggled to inmates have played a vital role in three highly publicized prison breaks in Sweden between July and September. Police suspect the inmates used them to coordinate their escapes with accomplices on the outside. All the inmates who escaped in the three prison breaks — including from Mariefred prison — were recaptured within days. (, 11/27/04.)