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Hussein co-defendant's lawyer dead



• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide



BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An attorney for a co-defendant of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was kidnapped and killed, one day after the dramatic trial opened in Baghdad.

Sadoon Janabi was working in his office in Baghdad when five gunmen stormed in and abducted him, according to police.

Officers said his body was found between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Thursday near Firdous Mosque in the Banook neighborhood of northern Baghdad, but it was not officially identified until Friday morning.

He was shot once, police said.

The Iraqi government said it was investigating the killing of Janabi, who had been representing Awad Hamad Bandar, the former chief judge of Hussein's Revolutionary Court.

"This cowardly act does not benefit the pursuit of justice and attempts to divert attention from bringing justice to those who violated the law and disrespected human lives," said Laith Kubba, spokesman for and adviser to Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. The remark was contained in a press release from the prime minister's office.

Bandar is accused of having sentenced to death more than 140 residents of Dujail following a failed assassination attempt on Hussein in 1982.

The defendant was seated next to the ousted Iraqi leader during the first day of the trial proceeding on Wednesday.

Bandar and Hussein are among eight former regime members being tried on charges related to the Dujail killings.

Kamal Allaw, head of the Iraqi Lawyers Union, said authorities must protect all lawyers, but said "there is no security provided to the lawyers involved in Saddam's trial nor to any of the union's members."

"We are sorry to hear the tragic news of abducting then killing (of) our colleague Sadoon Janabi. His mission was simply defending his client (in) the court of law."

Allaw said that "as lawyers, our message is all about law and justice."

Badee' Arrif, an attorney representing former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz and two other defendants in another case before the Iraqi Special Tribunal, said the kidnapping would not deter him.

"I will continue to defend my clients to the end, no matter what," he told CNN.

A press release from the prime minister's office said Laith Kubba "emphasized that the Iraqi government is committed to protecting the judges, the witnesses, lawyers, and all those who are involved in the trial of Saddam Hussein, and will not be deterred from pursuing the trial."

The release also said Kubba "emphasized it is the duty of the government to provide security for the judicial system while at the same time respecting its independence. The attorney of the Dujail case did not request special protection and they did not object to being shown on live broadcast. The Iraqi government is still committed to their request of providing protection upon request."

The trial of Hussein, Bandar and the six other co-defendants has been adjourned until November 28. (Full story)

The case is the first against Hussein, who is expected to be charged with crimes against humanity and genocide for acts committed during his almost three-decade rule over Iraq.

Janabi was one of the few lawyers to address the court at Wednesday's hearing. He said the defense had had insufficient time to study the evidence and accused the U.S.-backed Baghdad government of driving the process, Reuters reported.

News of Janabi's kidnapping coincided with the announcement by London's Guardian newspaper that kidnappers had freed its Baghdad correspondent, Rory Carroll, 33, who was abducted Wednesday.

Producers Mohammed Tawfeeq and Enes Dulami contributed to this report.

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