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"Chemical Ali" execution postponed for Ramadan
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"Chemical Ali" execution postponed for
BAGHDAD, -- Iraq will put off carrying out
the death sentence against Saddam Hussein's cousin,
widely known as "Chemical Ali", until the end of the
Muslim holy month of Ramadan in 10 days time, the
prime minister said on Wednesday.
An Iraqi appeals court upheld Ali Hassan al-Majeed's
death sentence at a hearing on Sept. 4, with the
sentence to be carried out within 30 days of that
decision. That deadline was to expire on Thursday.
"We seek a legal path for postponement because we do
not want the execution this time to be carried out
during Ramadan," Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told
a news conference.
The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan will end in
about 10 days.
Majeed, former Defence Minister Sultan Hashim and
Saddam's former army chief of staff Hussein Rashid
were sentenced to death in June for planning and
directing a military campaign in 1988 that
prosecutors said killed up to 180,000 Kurds.
Ali Hassan al-Majid, first cousin of executed
dictator Saddam Hussein and also known as 'Chemical
Ali', 'Butcher of Kurdistan' sentenced to death over Kurdish genocide, AP
Rumours had swirled soon after the appeal court
decision that Maliki's Shi'ite-led government would
move to hang Majeed before the start of Ramadan last
month but he remains in custody in a U.S. detention
Sunni Arabs, dominant under Saddam, accused the
government of acting with unseemly haste in carrying
out Saddam's death sentence on Dec. 30, four days
after a court rejected his appeal in a separate
Sunni Arab governments, including Egypt and Saudi
Arabia, also criticised the timing of the execution,
which took place at the start of the Eid al-Adha
Majeed has also gone on trial for his role in
crushing a Shi'ite rebellion in southern Iraq in the
aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War. Prosecutors in that
case had warned he could be executed before the
trial was completed.
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