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Official: Plot uncovered to attack Hussein trial

Adviser to ex-Iraqi leader to raise security issue for defense

Saddam Hussein is set to return to court Monday in Baghdad after his trial was adjourned for a week.


Saddam Hussein

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi security forces said they uncovered a plot by Sunni insurgents to attack the site of Saddam Hussein's trial, set to resume Monday, Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie said Sunday.

Security forces found "positioning mortars, long-range mortars" from a Baghdad suburb aimed at the trial's location, al-Rubaie said.

He said that there was evidence the group planning the attack -- the 1920 Revolution Brigades -- had a "sophisticated" global positioning system.

Al-Rubaie declined to say what evidence linked the weapons to the trial. He said the evidence was being withheld because authorities do not want to release sensitive information about how they uncovered the plot.

Little is known about the 1920 Revolution Brigades. The military has said that the group has claimed responsibility for attacks in the past.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, a member of the toppled Iraqi leader's defense team, said he will raise the issue of security for defense attorneys in court Monday.

"We'll present, presuming the court permits it, an urgent need in protecting Iraqi defense lawyers," said Clark from Amman, Jordan.

The slayings of defense attorneys Sadoon Janabi and Adil Muhammed al-Zubaidi have made security a key issue in the trial.

"Two have already been executed," Clark said. "There is nothing in place to protect them, which is really an outrage. It is dangerous for them every day, but it's more dangerous when they appear in court."

Defense attorneys have not accepted offers of security because they do not see them as complete enough, Clark said.

He said he plans to speak in court Monday, along with former Qatar Justice Minister Najeeb Nuaimi, who also has joined the defense team.

Otherwise, Clark said that they could walk out, although he added that no strategy has been set.

"We want that protection in place," Clark said. "Then we will address the legality of the court. The court has no authority or power to proceed until it is established that it is legal. If it is an illegal court, they don't have any right to address people and hold people and try people. So those will be the two main issues we will work on in this hearing."

Hussein and seven other defendants are standing trial in connection with the 1982 killings of more than 140 men in the mostly Shiite Iraqi town of Dujail.

The killings were believed to be in retribution for a failed assassination attempt on Hussein -- who is a Sunni Muslim.

During Hussein's court appearance last week, the chief judge adjourned the trial until Monday after defendants complained about their attorneys. (Full story)

A representative of the Iraqi government denounced Clark's role in the trial. Nuaimi, the ex-Qatar official, said he and Clark were challenging the legitimacy of the trial court.

Clark said he plans to meet with Hussein on Sunday afternoon.

"It will be the first real meeting where we've had a chance to discuss the trial," he said. "He has been held in total isolation. He hasn't seen any members of his family, any friends, anyone he knew before."

If the trial court refuses to hear them, Clark said, "then we might have to go to the higher court and get an order for it to hear our issues."

CNN's Aneesh Raman contributed to this report.

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