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Defense lawyer in Saddam trial abducted
Updated: 2005-10-21 06:30

Iraqi security forces said on Thursday they arrested one of Saddam's nephews on suspicion of financing insurgents. Yasser Sabawi was captured in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit on Wednesday as residents protested to mark the beginning of Saddam's trial.


Earlier on Thursday, Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who has said Iraq is on the verge of civil war, met Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari and other Iraqi leaders.

"We spoke about the new Iraq and the specific mission of the head of the Arab League ... in the framework of a national dialogue and national Iraqi reconciliation," Moussa said.

Iraq's Shi'ite leaders have been at odds with the Sunni governments of the rest of the Arab world, prompting fears that conflict within Iraq could spread across the region.

Shi'ite political leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim criticised the Arab League during a news conference with Moussa.

"We reproach the Arab League and Arab states because of their position toward Iraq and Iraqis," he said, complaining that the 22-member League "did not condemn terrorist groups."

Other Arab leaders are wary of Baghdad's close ties to Washington and to non-Arab fellow Shi'ites in Iran.

An October 15 referendum on a constitution opposed by Sunnis as a recipe for division expected to pass, raising fears of an intensified campaign by the rebels once results are announced.

The Electoral Commission, which says it may issue results in a day or two, said it had received about 80 complaints, most of them relatively minor; some Sunni leaders have alleged fraud.

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