Iraqi Court Sentences Saddam's Top Henchmen

Iraq's former deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz and Saddam Hussein's hatchetman "Chemical Ali" Hassan al-Majid have been sentenced to 15 years in jail for crimes against humanity.

Aziz and Majid, and six other defendants who were charged over the 1992 murders of 42 Baghdad traders, could have been sentenced to death.

The slain merchants had been accused of racketeering while Iraq was under punishing UN sanctions imposed after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The decision followed a verdict delivered by the court on March 2 that condemned Majid, a half brother of Saddam, to his third death sentence over the murder of Shiite Muslims 10 years ago.

However, the court had acquitted Aziz, 73, who was Saddam's spokesman to the outside world, on the same charges of crimes against humanity.