UN rights experts: Saddam's imprisonment unlawful

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's imprisonment is unlawful, UN human rights experts said Tuesday, but stopped short of calling for his release. Saddam's first trial, which ended with a death sentence on November 5 for ordering the execution of nearly 150 Shi'ite Muslims, did not meet "the relevant international standards," a United Nations working group on arbitrary detentions said in a statement. Because of this, his imprisonment is "arbitrary," it said. The panel, made up of five independent legal experts who report to the UN Human Rights Council, stated explicitly that it was not demanding Saddam's release but was recommending "that the serious procedural shortcomings are redressed" by Iraqi and US authorities. It also said the death penalty should not be carried out.