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Chemical Ali sentenced to death for war crimes

Article published on the 2008-12-02 Latest update 2008-12-02 14:11 TU

Ali Hassan al-Majid(Photo: AFP)

Ali Hassan al-Majid
(Photo: AFP)

A former Interior Minister and close adviser to Saddam Hussein was convicted of war crimes Tuesday in the crackdown on the Shia-Muslim uprising in 1991. Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as “Chemical Ali”, is already on death row after being found guilty of genocide of Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s. Abdelghani Abdul Ghafor al-Ani, a former head of the Baath party in southern Iraq, was also convicted of war crimes during the uprising following Iraq’s defeat by US forces in the 1991 Gulf War.

Ani shouted “Down with the occupation! Down with the collaborators!” as the judge read the verdict.

“God be praised, I will fall as a martyr to the nation,” he said.

Judge Mohammed al-Oreibi ordered Ani to be removed from the courtroom, and said, "Get out of here, you dirty Baathist!"

Majid was sentenced for his role in the 1991 uprisings when as many as 100,000 people were killed in massacres by troops around the cities of Najaf and Karbala.

He was already on death row in US custody, having been sentenced to death in June 2007 for ordering the deaths of tens of thousands of Kurds in 1988. The Iraqi forces' use of poison gas to attack villages then was the source of his nickname.

Meanwhile, United States President George Bush said he regrets the “intelligence failure” before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

He refused to say whether he would have ordered the invasion if he had known tha Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, declaring it "an interesting question".

"I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess,” he said in an interview with ABC television.

Bush admitted he was unprepared for the war when he took office in 2001.

"I didn't campaign and say, 'Please vote for me, I'll be able to handle an attack,” he said. "In other words, I didn't anticipate war. Presidents -one of the things about the modern presidency is that the unexpected will happen."