Iraqi Court Agrees: Chemical Ali Can Hang in Halabja
Kurds flocked into the streets in northern Iraq on Sunday, cheering, honking horns, waving banners and dancing after Chemical Ali and two others were sentenced to hang for the slaughter of over 180,000 Kurds in 7 months during Saddam’s Anfal campaign in 1988.
Rubbar Mohammed visits the grave of her family members who were killed in a chemical attack by Saddam Hussein’s forces in 1998, in Halabja, Iraq, Sunday, June 24, 2007 . Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as Chemical Ali, Saddam Hussein’s cousin and the former head of the Baath Party’s Northern Bureau Command, and two other former regime officials were sentenced to death by hanging for their roles in a 1980s scorched-earth campaign that led to the deaths of 180,000 Kurds, by an Iraqi court in Baghdad Sunday. (AP Photo/Yahya Ahmed)
A judge in northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region has said there are no legal reasons preventing a cousin and former close aide of Saddam Hussein from being executed in Kurdistan. Judge Razkar Muhammad Amin was referring to the former Iraqi defence minister and military commander, Ali Hasan al-Majid, also known as “Chemical Ali”, who has been sentenced to death for his role in the killings of ethnic Kurd villagers in Iraq during the 1980s.
“There isn’t a single juridical text that prevents the carrying out of a death sentence anywhere within the borders of Iraq, including the Kurdish city of Halabja,” he told Adnkronos International (AKI).
Halabja was where thousands of Kurdish civilians were killed with poisonous gas and other chemical weapons, an event which gave al-Majid his nickname.
“Iraqi penal law does not specifiy the location of where an execution should take place because this is a government responsibility. A magistrates’ role ends with the sentencing,” Amin told AKI.
Halabja has launched a citizens’ campaign to have al-Majid hanged in the city, which they believe would be a symbolic gesture to highlight the suffering of Iraq’s ethnic Kurds under Saddam’s regime.