Monday, June 25, 2007

Chemical Ali To Hang

Two decades after Iraq's military laid waste to Kurdish villages, the Iraqi High Tribunal on Sunday sentenced Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali," and two others to death for their roles in the bloody campaign against the restive ethnic minority.

Majid, a cousin of the executed former president, Saddam Hussein, was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for ordering army and security services to use chemical weapons in an offensive said to have killed about 180,000 people during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. [...]

Two others sentenced to hang for anti-Kurdish atrocities were the former defense minister, Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tai, and Hussein Rashid Mohammed, a former deputy director of operations for the Iraqi armed forces. [...]

Interrupting the judge as the verdict was read, Mohammed said the defendants were defending Iraq against Kurdish rebels. "God bless our martyrs. Long live the brave Iraqi Army. Long live Iraq. Long live the Baath Party and long live Arab nations," he declared.

Two other former officials - Sabir al-Douri, former director of military intelligence, and Farhan Mutlaq Saleh, who was head of military intelligence's eastern regional office - were sentenced to life in prison.

All charges were dropped against Taher Tawfiq al-Ani, a former governor of Mosul, because of insufficient evidence.

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