Iraqi tribunal airs al-Majid video

Saddam Hussein’s cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid was one of eight former Iraqi government officials to be shown on a tape released by the Iraqi Special Tribunal on Sunday.

Al-Majid is accused of genocide against Iraqi Kurds
Al-Majid is accused of genocide against Iraqi Kurds

Al-Majid and the others were shown testifying before an investigating magistrate and signing statements.

The tribunal did not say when the tape was made, but one of the documents signed by al-Majid was dated 16 June.

It is the third such tape released by the tribunal this month.

On 15 June, the tribunal released a video showing the questioning of three former senior officials – including Saddam’s half brother Sabawi Ibrahim.

Saddam himself had appeared on an earlier tape.

Halabja attack

No trial dates have been set for Saddam or any of the other former government officials being held in custody.

In Sunday’s tape, al-Majid is shown sitting in a chair and later signing a document. There is no audio on the tape except for when the men say their names.

A tape showing Saddam being questioned was aired last week

A tape showing Saddam being
questioned was aired last week

Al-Majid is alleged to have played a major role in poison gas attacks against Iraq’s Kurdish minority, including ordering the 1988 gassing of the town of Halabja that killed an estimated 5000 people.

Captured on 21 August 2003, al-Majid, widely known as “Chemical Ali”, is expected to deny the charges.

The Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST) said he was questioned about crimes against religious parties and the “killing and arresting” of Failiya Kurds living in the Iraq-Iran border areas. No details were provided, but the charge is not related to Halabja.

Shia Kurd expulsion

Members of the Failiya minority, thought to number more than a million, were forced from Iraq after Saddam Hussein ordered the mass expulsion of Iraqi Shia Kurds, denouncing them as alien Persians. Most Kurds in Iraq are Sunni.

About 5000 people were killedin the town of Halabja

About 5000 people were killed
in the town of Halabja

Saddam is known to have deported tens of thousands of Failiya Kurds to Shia Iran during the 1980-88 war with Iran, accusing them of spying for the Iranians and aiding their war effort.

Another of the defendants was Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti, a presidential secretary and Saddam’s cousin, who was captured on 16 June 2003.

The IST said he was charged with crimes against religious parties. It did not elaborate.

It then showed Taha Yassin Ramadan, vice-president and revolutionary command council member, who was captured on 20 August 2003. It also said he was charged with crimes against the Failiya Kurds.

Assassination attempt

Another man on the tape, like the others also on the list of America’s most wanted Iraqis, was former interior minister Mahmoud Diab al-Ahmed, who was captured on 8 August 2003.

The IST said, without elaboration, that he faces a blanket charge of crimes against religious parties.

Little is known of the last four men on the tape.

The IST said Sadoun Shakir al-Obeidi faced charges of taking part in a massacre in Dujail, a town 80km north of Baghdad, where at least 50 people were allegedly shot dead in 1982 in retaliation for a failed attempt to assassinate Saddam.

Saddam is also a defendant in that case, which it is believed will be the first to include the former president.

The other three men were all charged with participating in the massacre of Shia in the south after the 1991 Gulf War. They were identified as Maad Ibrahim Khalil al-Douri, Saadi Tu’ma Abbas and Ghalib Omar Mahdi.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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