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Munaf Hearing - Bungling Videoconference

Autor: Miruna Pasa Petru 24 Noi 2006 - 00:00
Munaf Hearing  -  Bungling Videoconference

The expected hearing of Mohammad Munaf regarding the kidnapping of the Romanian journalists in Iraq failed yesterday because of procedural issues. However, the former guide could be seen and heard for several minutes.

The Romanian authorities needed more than one year in order to obtain the Iraqi and American support in the case of the hearing of Mohammad Munaf, the former guide of the kidnapped journalists. The negotiations had finally resulted in a successful conclusion, and the needed devices were ready, but the hearing was impossible. This time, the "set" didn’t have the juridical aspects to make the deposition admissible.

COMFORT. However, Mohammad Munaf could be seen yesterday, after one and a half years. He was wearing a yellow kimono, he didn’t have the beard anymore and his lawyer or a civilian were next to him. In Arabian, he asked the judges to takes of his family safety, "as the Prosecutor that interrogated him in Iraq had promised him". Even though none of the things seen during the videoconference proved that the character in the images was Munaf, journalist Ovidiu Ohanesian, the Arabian translator present in the room and Omar’s lawyer, Viorel Spanu, said they had recognized Munaf.

The former guide’s lawyer, who introduced himself as a defender of former dictator Saddam Hussein, was the one that took care of the discussion. According to director Razvan Radu from the Minister of Justice, he also asked for protection from the Romanian Embassy in Baghdad, saying his life was in danger because he had stated he had been a supporter of Saddam Hussein.

PROCEDURE. The hearings have been postponed for the 14th of December because no judge was present during the videoconference. Moreover, the defender said the questions sent to Iraq by the Romanian authorities got to him on Wednesday night at 10:00 p.m. According to director Razvan Radu, the Iraqi lawyer blamed the absence of the questions ever since Wednesday. "We sent them to the Iraqi Ministry of Justice in time, but we don’t know why they didn’t get to the lawyer. In order to be sure that there won’t be any other blockage, we e-mailed them on Wednesday directly to the American military authorities, who are taking care of the defendant at the moment", Razvan Radu stated for us yesterday.

Another aspect that blocked the hearing was the fact that Munaf was yet to receive a copy of the indictment for the Romanian accusations of having kidnapped the Romanian journalists. According to our laws, the defendants have to have a copy of the indictment before the hearing. Judicial sources have communicated us that the Romanian Court is the one guilty for the absence of the indictment. It will get to Munaf next week the soonest.

Translated by SORIN BALAN
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