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Saddam's henchmen sentenced by tribunal

FORMER Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz was jailed for 15 years yesterday and two of Saddam Hussein's half brothers were sentenced to death for their roles in the killings of dozens of traders in 1992.

The traders were executed after being accused of hiking prices of goods in breach of state price controls, when Iraq's economy was collapsing as a result of United Nations sanctions imposed for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

"The court has ruled that Watban Ibrahim al-Hassan ... and Sabaawi Ibrahim al-Hassan be hanged until death for committing a premeditated killing ... a crime against humanity," Judge Raouf Abdul Rahman said.

The verdict came less than two weeks after the same Iraqi tribunal cleared Aziz ?? for years the public face of Saddam's regime ?? of any role in killing and displacing Shiite Muslims in 1999. That trial saw Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majeed, receive a third death sentence.

Majeed, nicknamed "Chemical Ali" for his use of poison gas to kill Kurdish villagers in the 1980s, was also sentenced in the trader case to 15 years.

Saddam's secretary, Abed Hamid Mahmoud, already jailed for life, received a second life sentence.

A senior member of Saddam's Baath party, Mizban Hadi, was given 15 years in prison and the former head of Saddam's presidential office, Ahmed Hussein Khudhayer, got six years. A former central bank governor, Isam Rasheed, was acquitted.

The Iraqi High Tribunal was set up after the 2003 United States-led invasion to try former members of Saddam's government.

Saddam was executed in December 2006 after being convicted of killing 148 Shiite men and boys after a 1982 assassination attempt.


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