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Ex-ICC defense counsel on Darfur threatened by Arab lawyer

December 29, 2008 (DOHA) – A French-Libyan born counsel registered at the International Criminal Court (ICC) was threatened this week by the deputy Secretary General of the Arab lawyers syndicate during a talk show discussing prosecuting US president George Bush.

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Abdel-Azeem Al-Maghrabi (left) & Dr. Hadi Shalluf (right) at the ‘Opposite Direction’ show December 23, 2008

The ‘Opposite Direction’ show, which normally draws millions of Arab viewers, hosted Dr. Hadi Shalluf who was the defense counsel for Darfur at the ICC and Abdel-Azeem Al-Maghrabi.

“We will treat those agents with what they deserve. They are George Bush’s agents and the Americans. They are agents of the neo-Nazis. They will be the ones who will be prosecuted and held accountable” Al-Maghrabi said.

“If he escaped from Libya we will follow him even if in France or the end of the world” the Arab lawyer told Shalluf.

Shalluf is longtime exiled Libyan opposition figure residing in France. He claims that his 85 yeas old father was assassinated by the Libyan government in 2005 and that he is also targeted by Tripoli for his activities.

Al-Maghrabi’s arguments focused on what he described as war crimes committed by Bush in Iraq while Shalluf contended that the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein bears responsibility for the misfortunes of his country.

“Saddam Hussein killed 4 million people in Iran and Iraq. Saddam Hussein massacred the Mosul people. He killed his own people in Halabga and not a single Arab person moved because they were Kurds” the Libyan dissident said.

Furthermore Shalluf accused the Arab lawyers’ syndicate of receiving money from autocratic regimes and that they “abandoned” their responsibilities in the area of human rights.

But Al-Maghrabi dismissed the accusations saying he is not defending the Arab rulers saying they are complicit in what occurred in Iraq and they are carrying out their role in prosecuting them.

The show featured an angry exchange between the two sides when Al-Maghrabi disputed Shalluf’s credentials saying he is not a registered counsel member at the ICC.

“You present yourself as an ICC counsel. Let it be known that I am a member of the ICC…you are just a syndicate member. You are a liar” Al-Maghrabi said.

However an ICC roster updated as of November 21st only shows only Shalluf and not Al-Maghrabi.

At the end of the show Al-Maghrabi threw a group of photos of Iraqi victims at Shalluf’s face after which the latter said he will file a lawsuit against the Egyptian lawyer.

The Libyan born counsel was appointed by the ICC on August 2006 to represent and protect the general interests of the defence in the Darfur case until March 2007.

(ST)