18 Jan 2010

Fourth death sentence for "Chemical Ali"

2:59 pm on 18 January 2010

The cousin of Saddam Hussein, Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as "Chemical Ali", has been sentenced to death for ordering the gassing of Kurds.

It is the fourth time that Majid, an enforcer in Hussein's Iraqi regime, has been sentenced to death.

He has also been convicted of the killings of Shia Muslims in 1991 and 1999 and for his role in a campaign of genocide against Kurds in the 1980s.

The BBC reports the latest sentence is for a gas attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988.

An estimated 5000 people died in the attack, most of them women and children. Iraqi jets sprayed the town for five hours with mustard gas and the nerve agents Tabun, Sarin and VX.

Majid was a cousin of Saddam Hussein, and earned his nickname after his use of poison gas.

The Al-Iraqiya channel said Majid would be killed by hanging.

The BBC reports it is believed Iraqi authorities will now want Majid executed without delay. However, he still has a right of appeal.

Majid was captured in August 2003, five months after US forces invaded Iraq.