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Middle East
Iraq to rule on mass murder case
Court to rule on Saddam-era officials who are alleged to have killed market traders.
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2009 09:42 GMT
Majid already has three death sentences against him for the mass killing of Shia Muslims [AFP] 

An Iraqi court is set to give verdicts for Tareq Aziz, a former Iraqi deputy prime minister, and Ali Hassan al-Majid, a power broker in Saddam Hussein's government, in the murder of 42 traders in 1992.

Aziz, Majid and six other defendants each face the death penalty if found guilty on Wednesday of crimes against humanity by the Iraqi High Tribunal in Baghdad.

The men are charged with the killing of merchants who were accused of speculating on food prices when Iraq was subject to UN sanctions after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Majid already has three death sentences against him, the most recent of which was delivered on March 2, for the murder of Shia Muslims 20 years ago.

Aziz was acquitted of war crimes charges during that court session.

Kurds killed

Majid was first sentenced to death in June 2007 for genocide after ordering the gassing of tens of thousands of Kurds by Iraqi forces during the 1988 Anfal campaign, which earned him the nickname "Chemical Ali".

His second death sentence was for war crimes and crimes against humanity over the crushing of an uprising by Shia Kurds after the 1991 Gulf War.

Aziz is also accused of displacing and killing about 2,000 clansmen loyal to Massud Barzani, the Kurdish regional president.

Violent campaign

Majid and Aziz are among 16 former officials on trial for a violent campaign against Shia Kurds.

They are accused of gassing members of the Fayli Kurdish community as part of a chemical weapons testing programme and as human shields during Iraq's war with neighbouring Iran from 1980 to 1988.

Aziz surrendered to US forces in April 2003 after Saddam Hussein's government was overthrown.

His son last year said that he was being held in poor conditions in custody and had fallen ill.

Source:
Agencies
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