Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Iraqi police seek Saddam Hussein's kidnapped lawyer

Iraqi police have started searching Baghdad for a kidnapped defence lawyer working for one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants. "Police special forces started search operations early this morning in the suspected areas around Sadr City in eastern Baghdad," police Major Falah al-Mohammedawi of the Interior Ministry said on Friday.

On Thursday evening, 10 masked and armed men kidnapped lawyer Saadoun Sughaiyer al-Janabi, who was in the courtroom for Wednesday's opening session of the trial, from his office in the eastern Shaab district.

Police searched areas in and around Baghdad's Shaab district, where the armed men pulled up outside al-Janabi's office, broke into the building and dragged him out.

He is one of two lawyers representing Awad Hamed al-Bander, one of seven Baath party officials being tried with Saddam.

For months, the Shaab district where al-Janabi was seized has been the scene of attacks on its mixed population of Sunnis and Shias.

Meanwhile, teams of international and Iraqi election officials were visiting several provinces on Friday to audit initial results from Iraq's constitutional referendum that showed an unexpectedly high number of yes votes, according to the AP.

Nearly one week after the vote, Iraqis are still awaiting the outcome of the referendum, an important step in the democratic process that could one day lead to the withdrawal of US-led forces. T.E.