Saddam`s cousin sentenced to death for third time

An Iraqi court gave Saddam Hussein`s cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, his third death sentence on Monday, the latest for his involvement in the killing and displacing of Shia Muslims in 1999.
Al-Majid, also known as “Chemical Ali”, earned his nickname for his role in using poison gas to kill thousands of Kurdish villagers. He was condemned to death for “premeditated killing as a crime against humanity”.

His previous sentences were for masterminding a genocidal campaign against Kurds in the 1980s and killing thousands of Shia followers after the 1991 Gulf War.

In the latest case, Iraqi troops were ordered to intervene to prevent demonstrations after the assassination of revered Shia cleric Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr.

Iraq`s former foreign minister and deputy prime minister, was cleared by the country`s Supreme Criminal Court of any wrongdoing in relation to the Shia deaths knows as the Friday prayers incidents.

According to a report by Iraqi news agency, Voices of Iraq, Aziz and three others were found innocent of the deaths.

Al-Majid and two others, Mahmoud Fizi Mohammed and Aziz Saleh Hassan were found guilty for their role in the killings.

Two defendants in the case, Ali Latif Nassif Jassem and Mohammed Zimam Abdelrazzaq, were sentenced to life in prison, while four others, including Tariq Aziz, were acquitted.

The Friday prayers incidents erupted after the assassination of Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr and his two sons in Najaf province in February 1999.

The death of Sadr, father of radical Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr, was followed by attacks on several mosques and security forces killed several worshippers and detained scores of others.

Fourteen officials from the former regime had faced charges before the criminal court on charges of detaining and killing a large number of people and decimating entire villages in the provinces of Baghdad, Missan, Samawa and Basra in February 1999.

Of these, eight were senior officials and party leaders of the former regime.

Aziz, a Chaldean Christian, was considered by many as the international face of the regime of late dictator Saddam Hussein. He has been detained in US custody in Iraq since 2003.

Aziz was the Eight of Spades in the United States` playing card pack depicting the most wanted members of the former Iraqi regime, and surrendered into US custody on 24 April, 2003, days after the invasion of Iraq.