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'Chemical Ali' killed Shi'a rebels: court testimony

[JURIST] Saddam Hussein's cousin and former Iraqi defense minister Ali Hassan al-Majid [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], also known as Chemical Ali, personally killed at least 15 men suspected of participating in a Shi'a uprising [HRW backgrounder] in southern Iraq following the 1991 Persian Gulf War, according to testimony offered Thursday in the crimes against humanity trial [JURIST report] ongoing at the Iraqi High Tribunal. Witness Ali Hadi Jaber, a student at the time, said he was arrested and taken to a military detention facility in Basra, where al-Majid randomly selected which prisoners to shoot with a collapsible AK-47. Jaber testified that he saw al-Majid kill 15 men. Another witness also said he saw al-Majid kill prisoners. Reuters has more.

Al-Majid and 14 other former Saddam Hussein-era officials are on trial for their role in the government's violent response to the uprising, during which tens of thousands of civilians were killed. They are charged with crimes against humanity and could face the death penalty. Al-Majid has already been sentenced to death [JURIST report] for his role in the 1988 Anfal campaign [HRW backgrounder] that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Kurds. Five defendants in the Anfal trial are currently appealing [JURIST report] their sentences to the Iraqi High Tribunal's Appeals Chamber. If the death sentences are upheld, Iraqi law requires the executions to take place within 30 days of the court ruling. The new case is the third in a series of trials involving Hussein-era officials [JURIST news archive]. The first was the Dujail case [BBC timeline] involving crimes against humanity committed in that Iraqi town in 1982, which resulted in the hangings of Hussein and his co-defendants.

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