Iraq's Tareq Aziz, Chemical Ali face new trial

The trial is the seventh being held against senior Saddam officials for crimes committed before the Iraqi president was ousted in a 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Iraq's Tareq Aziz, Chemical Ali face new trial

Sixteen Saddam Hussein-era Iraqi officials, including former deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz and Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majeed -- nicknamed Chemical Ali -- faced a new trial on Monday for repressing Shi'ite Kurds.

The trial is the seventh being held against senior Saddam officials for crimes committed before the Iraqi president was ousted in a 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Saddam was hanged after his conviction in the first trial, for ordering the killing of Shi'ite villagers after an assassination attempt.

The latest trial will examine the repression of a community known as Feyli Kurds, who come from the mountainous border area between Iraq and Iran, and, unlike most Iraqi Kurds, are Shi'ite Muslims rather than Sunnis.

Thousands of Feyli Kurds were driven from the country under Saddam, who declared them to be Iranian citizens and forced them across the border. Others were repressed, imprisoned and tortured in the 1970s and 1980s.

The trial is being presided over by Raouf Rashid Abdul-Rahman, the Kurdish judge who sentenced Saddam to die.

Majeed -- nicknamed Chemical Ali for using poison gas to kill 5,000 Kurds in a 1988 attack -- has already been sentenced to death twice.

The first death sentence was for his role in the mass killings of Kurds in the 1980s and the second for a bloody crackdown against Shi'ites in the 1990s. His execution has been delayed by political wrangling.

Aziz, a fluent English speaker who served as the public face of Saddam's regime in the west, is also standing trial in a separate case over the deaths of dozens of merchants executed for price fixing when Iraq was under U.N. sanctions.

Reuters

Last Mod: 27 Ocak 2009, 15:44
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