In Tech Central Station, Imam Khaleel Mohammed writes that Saddam Hussein has gotten religion while under arrest, and therefore, should first be given a fair trial–and then sentenced accordingly:
Let us face a simple fact: different areas have different norms. In Iraq, as in the rest of the Muslim Middle East, a verdict of guilty on the charges of which Saddam is accused would bring an automatic death sentence. This contrasts with the situation at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), where accused Serbian mass murderer Slobodan Milosevic and similar individuals are on trial. ICTY has its seat at The Hague, and the Netherlands will not carry out death sentences.
Let us face another fact: there is no lack of evidence against Saddam. It is doubtful the prosecution will need to produce any material that can be reliably challenged.
And let us face yet one more fact: Saddam, as he appeared the last time we saw him on 60 Minutes, has morphed into a devout Muslim, even interrupting an interview to complete prayer. Surely, as a sign of respect (albeit undeserved), we can allow that he be given a trial according to Islamic standards!
Why should Saddam not accept this, since he has challenged the authority of the present court? We can even go further and call for a tribunal consisting of Sunni and Shi’ite jurists.
Certainly defense lawyers must be allowed to question the evidence. But even though the criteria for testimony and evidence in Islam are far more demanding than in Western law, and unless we are living on some other planet, the evidence against him is overwhelming. If he is found guilty, the court may follow the Qur’anic law — which, as any Muslim scholar, Shi’ite or Sunni, will confirm, calls for capital punishment.
The Iraqi people have suffered long enough under Saddam — and their voice must be heard in dealing with their own. If any one body of Shi’ite or Sunni jurists disagrees with me, I will bow to their judgment. But I will not say that I am wrong.
Nor will I.