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article imageChemical Ali to be hanged again

By R. C. Camphausen     Jan 17, 2010 in Crime
Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as 'Chemical Ali' and also as 'King of Spades', has been sentenced to death for the fourth time. How many lives does he have?
It's all over the news, from Al Jazeera to the Democratic Underground and Radio Free Europe.
Ali Hassan al-Majid, nick-named Chemical Ali because of his preference for poison gas as a means of killing people. This time, the cousin of Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death for overseeing the gassing of circa 5000 Iraqi Kurds in an operation known as the Anfal campaign, more than 20 years ago (1988).
Three times previously, in other cases concerning other crimes against humanity, Ali Hassan al-Majid had been equally sentenced, yet arising from technicalities in the justice system of present-day Iraq, non of these earlier sentences have been carried out. It seems, however, that this fourth conviction may result in him being hanged very soon now, albeit with less fanfare than we have become used to. Unlike with Saddam Hussein, the news of this latest conviction has not been hailed so much in Iraq himself, where spokesmen from the various factions (Kurds, Shia, Sunni) have spoken about it yet with more or less subdued voices.
Very different reactions have been reported from among family members of poison gas victims, one of whom is quoted as kneeling down when the sentence was pronounced and exclaiming "I am so happy today, now the souls of our victims will rest in peace."
These are the words of Nazik Tawfiq, 45, a Kurdish woman who said she lost six of her relatives in the 1988 attack.
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