'Chemical Ali' Sentenced to Death in Iraq
- 'Chemical Ali' Sentenced to Death in Iraq
By SAMEER N. YACOUB
BAGHDAD (Dec. 2) - A special Iraqi court sentenced Saddam Hussein's
notorious cousin, "Chemical Ali" Hassan al-Majid, to death Tuesday
after convicting him of crimes against humanity for his part in
crushing the 1991 Shiite uprising in southern Iraq.
Al-Majid already faces death by hanging after being convicted last
year for his role in the killing of tens of thousands of Kurds in a
crackdown in the late 1980s. But that execution has been delayed by
Ali Hassan al-Majid, Saddam Hussein s notorious cousin, known
as "Chemical Ali," listens as a special Iraqi court sentenced him to
death Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008, in Baghdad, Iraq, after convicting him
of crimes against humanity while crushing the 1991 Shiite uprising in
southern Iraq. Ali Hassan al-Majid already faces death by hanging
after being convicted last year for his role in the killing of tens
of thousands of Kurds in a crackdown in the late 1980s. But that
execution has been delayed by legal wrangling. (AP Photo/APTN)
Former Baath party official Abdul-Ghani Abdul-Ghafur also received a
death sentence at the end of the trial, which began in August 2007.
He shouted, "Down with the Persian-U.S. occupation!" as the sentence
"Shut up, you dirty Baathist," snapped chief judge Mohammed Oreibi al-
Khalifa, referring to Saddam's mostly Sunni Baath party.
The trial was one of five convened against former leaders of Saddam's
regime, which was ousted in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Two are still
In the first trial, Saddam was convicted of crimes in the killing of
more than 140 Shiites after an assassination attempt against him in
He was hanged in December 2006.
After Saddam's defeat in the 1991 Gulf War, Shiites in southern Iraq
and Kurds in the north rose up against his regime and seized control
of 14 of the country's 18 provinces. U.S. troops created a safe haven
for the Kurds in three northern provinces, preventing Saddam from
But Saddam's troops marched into the predominantly Shiite south and
crushed the uprising, killing tens of thousands of people.
In this trial, four defendants received life sentences, six were
sentenced to 15 years in prison and three were acquitted.
Among those who received a 15-year sentence was former Defense
Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tai.
He has also been sentenced to death for the Kurdish crackdown. But al-
Tai's execution has been delayed because of an outcry from fellow
Sunnis who believed the sentence was too harsh.
After the end of the court session, al-Khalifa told reporters that he
is convinced the verdicts were "fair and just."
He added that some defendants were given 15 years instead of life
sentences because they showed remorse and apologized for their role
in crushing the uprising.
"The existence of anti-government protests, even if a few protesters
were carrying personal weapons, does not justify the use of tanks and
helicopters to kill people at random," al-Khalifa said. "It took us
75 sessions to reach the verdicts in this case while Saddam's
Revolutionary Court needed two minutes to try and sentence a
defendant to death."
A lawmaker for the movement loyal to anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada
al-Sadr hailed the verdicts.
"This day is the day of examination and punishment," Fawzi Akram told
AP Television News. "In the (Shiite) uprising, the Iraqi people made
heavy sacrifices. Crimes unprecedented in modern Iraqi history were
carried out, including killings and random raiding and mass killings,
with no regard for law or justice."
Al-Majid and former Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz are also on trial for
allegedly orchestrating the bloody repression of Shiite riots after
the 1999 assassination of al-Sadr's father.
Aziz also faces charges in another trial under way for officials
accused in the 1992 execution of dozens of merchants accused of
manipulating food supplies to drive up prices during hard economic
times under U.N. sanctions.
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