An Iraqi court has sentenced a notorious cousin of former dictator Saddam Hussein to death by hanging for ordering the gassing of Iraqi Kurds in 1988.
It is the 4th death sentence handed down to Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as “Chemical Ali” for his role in the poison gas attack in the northeastern Iraqi village of Halabja. The assault killed an estimated 5,000 Kurds, making it the deadliest such attack ever against civilians.
Residents of Halabja cheered and played music in celebration of Sunday’s verdict. Some also gathered at a cemetery to remember those killed in the attack.
Al-Majid already had been sentenced to death for involvement in a broader crackdown on Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s known as the Anfal campaign that killed tens of thousands of people.
He received two other death sentences for his roles in suppressing Iraqi Shi’ite uprisings in 1991 and 1999.
The Iraqi court also convicted three other members of Saddam’s former government Sunday of involvement in the 1988 Halabja massacre.
It imposed 15-year prison terms on former Iraqi Defense Minister Sultan Hashim al-Taie and former intelligence chief Sabir Azizi al-Douri. The court also sentenced former senior military official Farhan Mutlaq al-Jubouri to 10 years in prison.
In another development, the son of Saddam’s former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz says Aziz suffered a stroke in recent days and was transferred to a U.S. military hospital. Aziz served for years as Saddam’s main spokesman to the outside world.
An Iraqi court sentenced the former deputy prime minister to prison last year for involvement in atrocities committed during Saddam’s rule.
‘Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.’