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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 July, 2004, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Gaddafi daughter to defend Saddam
Aisha Gaddafi arriving in Baghdad in 2000
Aisha Gaddafi joins a team of a lawyers from a number of countries
The daughter of Libya's leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has joined Saddam Hussein's defence team.

Aisha Gaddafi, in her mid-20s, joins 20 to 30 lawyers involved in the ousted Iraqi leader's defence, lawyer Mohammed al-Rashdan told BBC News Online.

Mr Rashdan said it had not been decided what role the law graduate would play.

Saddam Hussein made his first court appearance on Thursday to hear seven preliminary charges read out to him, including genocide.

Colonel Gaddafi has publicly defended Saddam Hussein and berated Arab leaders who he accuses of co-operating with the US.

Death threats

Mr Rashdan, a Jordanian, said as many as 1,500 lawyers had expressed an interest in defending "President Saddam Hussein".

Anfal campaign against Kurds, late 1980s
Gassing Kurds in Halabja, 1988
Invasion of Kuwait , 1990
Crushing Kurdish and Shia rebellions after 1991 Gulf War
Killing political activists over 30 years
Massacring members of Kurdish Barzani tribe in 1980s
Killing religious leaders, 1974

But, he said, 20 to 30 were actively involved at the moment - from France, the UK, the US and Belgium, as well as Arab countries like Lebanon and Libya.

They wanted to travel to Iraq to see their client as soon as possible but wanted guarantees on security from Iraqi and US officials, Mr Rashdan said.

"We have been receiving many death threats" from Iraq, Mr Rashdan told BBC News Online, sometimes from Iraqi religious figures.

He said if no security guarantees were given, Saddam Hussein's lawyers would still go to Baghdad, accompanied by Western media journalists.

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