IRAQ: TWO DEATH SENTENCED FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
March 11, 2009: Two of Saddam Hussein's half-brothers, former Interior Minister Watban Ibrahim al-Hassan and director of public security Sabawi Ibrahim, were sentenced to death for crimes against humanity.
Hussein's former foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the 1992 execution of 42 merchants accused of price gouging while Iraq was under U.N. sanctions.
The conviction was the first against Aziz, who for years was the former regime's public face to the West.
Saddam's cousin "Chemical Ali" al-Majid also got a 15-year prison sentence in the case.
Three other defendants got sentences of life in prison, 15 years and six years. Former Central Bank Gov. Issam Rashid Hweish was acquitted for lack of evidence.
The trial, which opened last April but was often delayed, dealt with the execution of the 42 merchants accused by Saddam's government of being behind a sharp increase in food prices when the country was experiencing hardships under sanctions.
The merchants were rounded up over two days in July 1992 from Baghdad's wholesale markets and charged with manipulating food supplies to drive up prices at a time when many Iraqis were suffering economically. All 42 were executed hours later after a quick trial. (Sources: AP, 11/03/2009)