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Iraqi Court Upholds Death for Chemical Ali, Saddam Lieutenants

An Iraqi appeals court on Tuesday upheld death sentences imposed against "Chemical Ali" al-Majid and two other Saddam Hussein lieutenants convicted of crimes against humanity for their roles in a massacre of Kurds, a judge said.

Al-Majid, Saddam's cousin and former defense minister, gained the nickname "Chemical Ali" after poison gas attacks on Kurdish towns in the 1980s.

The Iraqi High Tribunal upheld his death sentence in a majority decision, as well as those of former defense minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tai and Hussein Rashid Mohammed, appellate court judge Munir Hadad told the AP.

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"The government now has to carry out the execution against Ali Majid, Sultan Hashim and Hussein Rashid any time within a 30-day period," Hadad said.

All three were convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in June for their role in the brutal crackdown that killed up to 180,000 Kurdish civilians and guerrillas two decades ago known as "Operation Anfal."

Al-Majid, once among the most powerful and feared men in Iraq, ordered the use of mustard gas and nerve agents against the Kurds, who had allegedly collaborated with the Iranians during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War.

Life sentences were also upheld for Farhan Mutlaq Saleh, former deputy director of operations for the armed forces, and Sabir al-Douri, former director of military intelligence, Hadad said.

Saddam himself was among the defendants when the trial began last Aug. 21. But he was hanged four months later for his role in the deaths of more than 140 Shiite Muslims in the town of Dujail — the first trial against major figures from the ousted regime.

Besides Saddam, three other figures from the former regime have been executed — all in the Dujail case. They include Saddam's half brother and former intelligence chief, Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, who headed the Revolutionary Court that sentenced the Dujail victims to death. They were hanged in January.

Former vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, had been sentenced to life in prison for his role in Dujail but was hanged in March after an appeals court decided the life sentence was too lenient. Three other defendants were sentenced to 15 years in jail in the Dujail case, while one was acquitted.