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2 Mar, 2009 14:17

Iraqi court sentences 'Chemical Ali' to death for third time

A court in Iraq has sentenced to death three officials for killing Shiites during the reign of Saddam Hussein. Among the convicted is Hassan al-Majid, better known as ‘Chemical Ali’.

In 1999, top Shiite clerical leader Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr was assassinated, which led to a crackdown by the Baath Party to quell public protests. Sadr’s supporters accused Saddam Hussein’s agents of the assassination.

The verdict represents the third death sentence for Chemical Ali, who received his first death sentence for using poison gas against the Kurdish population in the 1980s. He was also sentenced to death for killing thousands of Shiites during an uprising following the Gulf War in 1991, Reuters reported.

Three other former Saddam officials received life sentences. Two, including former Foreign Minster Tariq Aziz, were acquitted of their charges, according to the Associated Press. Aziz, however, is due to appear in court again on other charges.

The High Tribunal in Iraq was set up after the US invasion in 2003 to try former members of Saddam's government. Since then, four people have been sentenced to death, including Saddam Hussein himself, who was executed by hanging on December 30, 2006.