Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Death sentence confirmed for Chemical Ali

(AFP) - A top Iraqi court has confirmed the death sentence on "Chemical Ali" and two other cohorts of Saddam Hussein convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity, a senior judge said on Tuesday. "The Iraqi Supreme Court has confirmed the death sentence on Ali Hassan al-Majid, Sultan Hashim al-Tai and Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti," the court head Judge Aref Shaheen told a press conference.
Majid, widely known as "Chemical Ali," was the executed Iraqi dictator's most notorious hatchet man, Tai was his defence minister and Tikriti was armed forces deputy chief of operations. The three were sentenced to death on June 24 after being found responsible for the slaughter of thousands of ethnic Kurds in the so-called Anfal campaign of 1988. They will be hanged within 30 days in line with Iraqi law.
An estimated 182,000 Kurds were killed and 4,000 villages wiped out in the brutal campaign of bombings, mass deportation and gas attacks known as Anfal. "Thousands of people were killed, displaced and disappeared," Iraqi High Tribunal chief judge Mohammed al-Oreibi al-Khalifah said after he had passed sentence in June. "They were civilians with no weapons and nothing to do with war."
Majid, 66, was the last of the six defendants to learn his fate in the Anfal case -- the second trial of former Saddam cohorts on charges of crimes against humanity since the fall of the feared regime in 2003. He muttered only "Thanks be to God" before being led from the court. He and the other two condemned men are currently on trial for their roles in brutally crushing a Shiite uprising in southern Iraq in 1991, but the charges against them will be dropped once they have been executed.
Saddam's regime said the Anfal campaign was a necessary counter-insurgency operation during Iraq's eight-year war with neighbouring Iran. It involved the systematic bombardment, gassing and assault of areas in the Kurdish autonomous region, which witnessed mass executions and deportations and the creation of prison camps. Saddam, driven from power by a US-led invasion in April 2003, was executed on December 30 for crimes against humanity in a separate case and charges against him over the Anfal campaign were dropped.
Over the course of the trial, which opened on August 21, a defiant Majid said he was right to order the attacks.
"I am the one who gave orders to the army to demolish villages and relocate the villagers," he said at one hearing. "I am not defending myself. I am not apologising. I did not make a mistake."
Iraqi Kurds were jubilant following the verdicts but plans to execute Majid in a Kurdish province have been dropped to prevent the hanging appearing as revenge, an Iraqi government official said. Human Rights Watch has expressed concern that the Anfal verdicts could be "flawed" as in the previous trial of Saddam over the killing of Shiites from the village of Dujail in the 198os.

Labels: , , , , ,

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?