IRAQ. THREE EX OFFICIALS SENTENCED TO HANG
June 24, 2007: Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as ``Chemical Ali,'' and two other regime officials were sentenced to hang in Iraq for slaughtering up to 180,000 Kurds with chemical weapons, artillery barrages and mass executions two decades ago. Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa read out the death penalties for al-Majid, Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tai, former Iraqi defense minister, and Hussein Rashid Mohammed, a former deputy director of operations for the Iraqi armed forces.
Two other defendants were sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the 1987-1988 crackdown. A sixth defendant was acquitted for lack of evidence. Some human rights organizations questioned whether the proceedings complied with international standards for fairness. Miranda Sissons of the International Center for Transitional Justice said the broad array of charges facing all the accused made it difficult to prepare a proper defense. ``It matters to the rule of law and the future of Iraq that individuals are sentenced after fair and critical trials that meet international standards,'' Sissons said. (Sources: The Guardian, 24/06/2007)